Farmers that are eligible for Farming Recovery Fund payments will receive them this summer, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said.

The department has expanded the £50 million recovery fund to cover farms of all sizes across the country.

New eligibility criteria aims to open up the scheme to thousands more farmers who have suffered significant damage to their land as a result of prolonged wet weather and extreme flooding.

Farmers whose land has been severely affected by flooding and wet weather, and who are likely to need to do work to remediate land to make it possible to farm it in future, will be eligible.

There will be a flat rate payment, set in bands according to farm size. The minimum payment amount will be £2,895, so all eligible farmers will receive at least that amount, up to a maximum of £25,000.

Farming Recovery Fund

The Farming Recovery Fund originally opened in April, providing grants between £500 – £25,000 for farmers to return their land to the condition it was in before flooding due to Storm Henk.

Following feedback from farmers, the scheme was updated to remove the 150m limit on land flooded by a river, thereby including all flooded land near to an eligible river.

The scheme has now been significantly expanded to include a wider geographical area of farmers who suffered river flooding. It now also includes those who experienced damage due to extreme rainfall.

Farmers whose land has been significantly damaged by water caused by flooding or exceptional rainfall this winter and spring will receive a payment to help cover the costs of bringing their land back into production.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will identify farmers who are eligible for the payment and contact them.

This is an exceptional, one-off intervention to respond to the exceptionally wet conditions affecting farming this winter and spring, and in the context of the agricultural transition, Defra said.

The government also is bringing forward the second instalment of this year’s delinked payment, which will now be paid from September, with the aim of helping all farmers with cash flow following the impact of wet weather.

This will follow the first instalment, which is due to be paid from August 1.

The recovery grants will help contribute to the costs of land remediation, including recultivation, soil remediation or the removal of debris and pollution.

Defra has based the payment rates on an assessment of average likely costs.

Farmers will have flexibility to spend the grant appropriately in their context and will not have to provide evidence of damage or costs or make further claims.

‘Really good news’

President of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), Tom Bradshaw, said the expansion of the scheme is “really good news”.

“Against the backdrop of some of the most challenging commercial and weather conditions in living memory, which has resulted in plummeting business confidence, these measures will provide some critical relief to many member businesses which have been facing a very uncertain future because of exceptional cashflow pressures,” he said.

“I’m particularly pleased that the Secretary of State is supporting serious consideration of our proposed loans.

“While we understand any decision will be delayed due to the general election, we will continue to work with the future government on this proposal as we know how beneficial it would be in stabilising cashflow, building resilience and enabling investment, all of which are crucial to our national food security.”

Bradshaw said the new measures will not solve all the issues farmers are facing, but that he is confident that they will go some way to lifting “some of the immediate strain on family farms”.

They will help farmers and growers get back to producing “high quality, sustainable food for the British people”, he said.