Union warning as deadlines for aid loom

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This week sees the closing date for two Scottish Government aid schemes and the National Farmers Union of Scotland is urging farmers not to leave their applications to the last minute for either the Weather Aid fund or the New Entrants scheme.

The Scottish Government has received more than 270 applications to its £6 million Weather Aid scheme and there have been 785 notes of interest in the New Entrants fund. Some 340 of this latter group have already converted into applications.

The union has also received clarification on how support for fallen stock collection will be delivered to those who are members of the National Fallen Stock Company (NFSCo) and those who have had fallen stock lifted by collectors who are not part of the NFSCo network.

The fallen stock support element of the Weather Aid package totals £750,000 and farmers will be eligible to receive a rebate on their costs if they have used a fallen stock collection service during March, April 
and May.

Farmers who are already members of the NFSCo need take no action as refunds to bank accounts will be processed by the company. But the union advises farmers who had animals collected by other companies that they should complete and sign an application form with their details and their collection receipts. The closing date for these applications is 31 July.

Union president Nigel Miller described the uptake of the Weather Aid scheme as encouraging, but urged all farmers who suffered in the winter of 2012 and the spring of 2013, and who might be considering an application, not to leave it to the last minute and apply ahead of the end of this week.

“This aid package recognises how difficult a period this has been and is designed to help those who have lost critical numbers of stock or will rear significantly fewer animals this season because of the weather. It will also assist those who had to strip out and replant large areas of failed crops.”

He added that all Union members had been contacted to ensure they were aware of the scheme.

“The eligibility criteria have been set, but we would urge farmers to view these as a guide and if they feel they have a genuine claim on weather-related losses, then they should go ahead and submit their application and allow the panel to assess it.”

Commenting on the New Entrants Scheme, Miller again stressed the need for applications to be registered by the end of the week.