Food retailers behind the Farmers Fund have allocated £650,000 to support cash-strapped UK farm businesses, including those hit by foot and mouth. The money has been given to charities that offer immediate financial help to farmers, such as the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution. It forms part of the £2.1m pledged to farmers in the spring from the budgets of Asda, Marks and Spencer, Safeway, Sainsbury, Somerfield, Tesco and Waitrose. The retailers set up the Farmers Fund in October to administer the remaining £1.45m intended to finance new farm recovery plans, such as retraining schemes and research on the role of farming in the food chain, rather than existing initiatives. Applications will be accepted from January 14, 2002. {{NEWS }}