Wet weather fund hits £450k

A WET weather fund set up to help farmers and rural communities has reached £450,000.

A charitable trust set up by rural insurer NFU Mutual became the latest organisation to donate £150,000 to help communities hit by bad weather during 2012.

The donation by the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust matches £150,000 donations made already by the Duke of Westminster and the Prince's Countryside Fund taking the total donated to £450,000.

The money will be distributed between a number of rural charities including the Addington Fund, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institition and the Farm Crisis Network to assist farmers and members of rural communities affected by extreme weather.

Richard Percy, chairman of NFU Mutual and its Charitable Trust said: "Many farmers are facing massive financial problems as a result of 2012's heavy rains which decimated arable and fodder crops.

"As the UK's leading rural insurer, NFU Mutual has a charitable trust which provides support for farmers in need."

NFU Mutual's Charitable Trust was set up in 1998 and focuses heavily on helping to alleviate hardship faced by farmers and the rural community.

Over the last 10 years, it has made donations in excess of £1 million to support agricultural and rural causes.

Last year was the second wettest in the UK since records began, according to the Met Office.

A drought across much of England during the spring followed by record-breaking wet weather meant a poor harvest for many farmers, resulting in higher costs to plant crops and to keep livestock.

Rural communities and businesses also saw homes and premises flooded.

At a Clarence House meeting before Christmas, Prince Charles said he was "increasingly concerned" about the many difficulties facing farmers during the winter months.

Many British farmers are facing an emergency situation," he said.

At the meeting Farm Crisis Network confirmed that casework is already double that experienced normally at this time of year in the West Country and North West England.

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution said it had paid out two-and-a-half times as much money in emergency payments to two-thirds more working farmers than in the same period last year.

Lord Curry of Kirkharle, a trustee of the Prince’s Countryside Fund, said: “This is the first time that the Countryside Fund has utilised all of its emergency funding and is a reflection of what a difficult time this is for farmers.

He added: "The impact will probably be felt in January and February onwards so it is particularly well timed to release the money now and ensure the charities can prepare for the increase in demand for their services."


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