Funding announced for farmers affected by tough weather conditions

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing announced the funding on Monday. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing announced the funding on Monday. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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Loans to help farmers hit by months of adverse weather are being offered by the Scottish Government.

The National Basic Payment Support Scheme (NBPSS) was launched on Monday by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

Under the scheme, loans will be made available to eligible farmers of up to 90 per cent of the value of their annual payment from the European Union.

While that money would usually be handed over between December and June, the loan payments are expected to be made to eligible farmers from early October.

It follows a run of difficult weather for farmers in 2018, with “the Beast from the East” cold spell followed by a heatwave this summer.

READ MORE: Scots sheep farmers appeal for emergency aid after ‘brutal’ weather

Mr Ewing said: “Farmers are the backbone of Scotland’s rural economy, and we understand that many of them have really suffered this year due to the unprecedented severe weather experienced in 2018.

“The Scottish Government is of course committed to supporting our farmers, and have responded by taking decisive action to make this extra funding stream available.

“We will be issuing loan offers shortly, providing a much-needed cash injection for those feeling the effects of increased prices for feed and fodder, the impact of restraints on irrigating their land, and in some cases resorting to selling livestock earlier than planned to preserve fodder for breeding stocks.”

Mr Ewing said he has also asked experts to consider what other actions may be helpful in response to the recent dry weather.

The funding will be available on an opt-in basis, with individual loan offers expected to be sent to farmers from early September.

A similar scheme created last year delivered payments of more than £317 million to around 13,500 farmers, the Scottish Government said.