The Government has announced new measures today (Friday 20 March) to help farmers recover from the recent flooding which has been especially devasting for farmers in Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

This will be a £6 million further extension to the Farming Recovery Fund to help flood hit farmers.

The Environment Secretary has also confirmed today that the government intends to relax the crop diversification requirements known as the “three crop rule” for farmers for 2020, following pressure from flood-hit farmers who would have had difficulty complying.

The three crop rule is a ‘leftover’ from EU law following Brexit, which requires farmers managing more than 30 hectares of arable land to grow at least three different crops. Farmers with smaller land-holdings are also subject to crop diversification requirements.

With large swathes of Herefordshire and Worcestershire farmland under floodwater for most of February, the government is pursuing plans through Parliament to relax this rule for all farmers for 2020 so those who are unable to access their flooded land to plant spring crops over the coming weeks and months will not be unfairly penalised. The amendment will be made for Parliament’s approval as soon as possible.

Under the Farming Recovery Fund, affected farmers in eligible areas can claim for grants between £500 and £25,000 to cover a number of uninsurable repair costs, such as the re-cultivation of farmland, including re-seeding, replanting cover crops and alleviating soil compaction.

More information on the application dates for the extended Farming Recovery Fund and the claim areas are due to be released soon.

Liza Randall, Associate at G Herbert Banks says, “Worcestershire and Herefordshire farmers have been one of the most badly affected with flooding along the Severn, Avon, Teme and Lugg as well as smaller tributaries.

“We are awaiting further information from DEFRA which will include details on eligibility within affected counties. Look out for the Farming Recovery Fund handbook which has more detail for those eligible under previous funding rounds.

“In order to support claims, especially for those farmers that have already repaired the damage from flooding in November, it is important to keep  records of all relevant evidence, including receipts and before and after photos, so we can help farmers put forward the best evidence to the RPA.

“The relaxation of the three crop rule is long overdue, but once it has been formalised and approved by Parliament, all farmers should be notified of this.”

Those wanting help with claiming or BPS should contact Liza Randall or Caroline Harber on 01299 896968 or email liza@gherbertbanks.co.uk

Further guidance is available on GOV.UK.