Following the very poor weather experienced across Scotland this spring and summer, the Scottish Government has donated £50,000 to assist farmers and farm workers facing hardship, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced.
The grant funding has been awarded to RSABI, a registered Scottish charity which helps to relieve hardship and poverty amongst people who have depended on the land for their livelihoods.
It is expected the funding will help farmers and those working on the land by providing assistance to those individuals who find themselves facing personal difficulties.
It comes as the UK Government agrees to requests by the Scottish Government and farming unions for a summit of agriculture ministers from across the UK and industry representatives.
Speaking ahead of a visit to Lairg Lamb Sales, Mr Lochhead said
I am aware that the unseasonably wet weather we have been experiencing is having an impact on farmers and crofters across a number of parts of Scotland.
I have heard reports of sheep farmers suffering losses of animals at lambing due to the cold, wet conditions and cattle are not performing as well as usual. This obviously has implications for production as well as potentially the prices farmers can achieve at market for their stock.
Early indications also suggest that this year’s silage yields may be badly affected by the weather, meaning further problems could be in store for the winter months ahead.
My officials are continuing to work with industry to closely monitor the situation, and I am very keen to explore ways in which the industry and Scottish Government can help.
Next week, I will attend the summit of agriculture ministers and industry representatives from across the UK that farming unions and I have been calling for, to consider what further appropriate help can be made available to those sectors most affected by the wet weather and other challenges facing primary food production.
I am acutely aware that some farmers and crofters might be experiencing hardship in the short term. That is why I am announcing today a £50,000 donation to RSABI, a unique Scottish charity that provides financial assistance and support to those people who have worked in Scotland in land-based occupations and who are suffering hardship.
It is an extremely worthwhile cause and something that I am pleased to both support and promote.
I encourage any farmers and crofters who are experiencing hardship as a result of the very poor weather, or indeed for any other reason, to make contact with RSABI. All approaches will be treated in the utmost confidence.
Nina Clancy, RSABI Chief Executive, said
RSABI is very grateful for the donation from the Scottish Government. We are experiencing an increased number of working farmers and crofters contacting the charity for support and financial assistance. Farmers and crofters are facing extremely challenging times. RSABI is here to help where it can. We would urge people to call our helpline in confidence. We do more than you think, just ask.
If you feel that you need support or advice you can contact RSABI by visiting their website http://www.rsabi.org.uk/ or by calling them on 0300 1114166 all calls are treated in confidence.