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Banks urged to show leniency as snow chaos continues

Farm chiefs in Scotland have met with representatives from the banking sector to highlight the impact the catastrophic start to spring has had on many businesses.
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NFU Scotland said the snowstorms, which claimed the lives of thousands of sheep, would leave a grim, long-term legacy.

 

In parts of Dumfries and Galloway, south Ayrshire, Arran and Kintyre – where stock losses have been considerable – there is huge pressure on farms to keep remaining ewes and lambs alive.

 

The union said many farmers would need help to source feed and dispose of fallen stock, but the cost implications would not be fully felt until the winter.

 

NFUS also explained to the bank representatives the full extent of the problems being faced on all farm types hit by the second coldest March on record.

 

A cold, late spring has simply compounded the difficult weather year endured across Scotland in 2012, members said.

 

NFU Scotland’s vice president, Allan Bowie, who represented the Union at the talks, called on banks to take a flexible and sensitive approach in their dealings with farm businesses.

 

He said: “Thanks to information provided by members, we were able to begin to quantify weather impacts to the representatives of Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB Scotland, The Royal Bank of Scotland and The Committee of Scottish Bankers.

 

“All the banks present said they were committed to being sensitive to the circumstances and, where appropriate, would look at ways to assist viable farming customers - especially those in the hardest hit areas.

 

“Whilst reaffirming their belief that in the medium to long-term Scottish agriculture was a good sector to invest in, the banks did stress that it was essential for farmers to be pro-active in approaching their bank for discussions rather than letting any problems mount up.”

 

It comes as Defra advised farmers to liaise with fallen stock collectors in order to save money.

 

A spokeswoman said many of the worst affected areas, including Derbyshire and Wales, had arranged bulk collection or delivery with charges on a weight basis rather than a headage tariff.

 

Weight is more commonly used in the pig and poultry sector for charging for collection of fallen stock, but is equally available to other species, Defra said.

 

Knacker yards are approved bulking up points and one renderer – Pointons - has offered to send articulated trucks to the worst affected farms.

 

The Defra spokeswoman said it is ‘perfectly legal’ to deliver sheep in this way provided they are transported in a covered leak-proof vehicle.

 


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Don’t suffer in silence

Farming Community Network - 0845 367 9990

RABI - 0300 303 7373

RSABI/Gatepost - 0300 111 4166

Rural Stress Helpline - 0845 094 8286

Samaritans - 08457 90 90 90

You Are Not Alone (YANA) - 0300 323 0400

Farming Help - 0845 367 9990

Addington Fund - 01926 620135

 

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