The farming industry remains concerned about the long-term implications of the summer heatwave.
During July, R.A.B.I received 73 calls /referrals for help due to financial pressures – a 66 per cent increase on last year. Around 12 per cent of the new applicants cited adverse weather conditions as a key cause of current difficulties.
R.A.B.I Head of Welfare, Trish Pickford, said: “For many, it’s been a difficult year. We expect to see a further increase in referrals over the coming months due to the knock-on effects of the hot, dry weather. With reduced income and higher costs possible, it could be hard for some families to make ends meet.”
On Tuesday, representatives from various organisations, including R.A.B.I, met with Minette Batters, president of the NFU and environment secretary Michael Gove in Westminster to discuss drought-related issues in farming. Mr Gove said there was a need for ‘greater flexibility’ this year to support farmers, but that more summers like this one would require an overall change in thinking.
Malcolm Thomas, R.A.B. I chairman, said: “We usually find there’s a time lag between someone suffering hardship and contacting us for help, so we expect to receive even more calls in the coming weeks and months. Drought-related issues will last long after the rains have come. A lot of farmers will be playing catch-up through the autumn and beyond.”
Mr Thomas spoke with representatives from the Welsh Government and other stakeholders on Friday to discuss concerns, share information and plan a way forward. He added: “It is clear that as the winter approaches, fodder availability is going to be a major problem.”
If you need help call R.A.B.I on 0808 281 9490