Local Helplines Assist Farmers With Bad Weather

SCOTLAND, UK - Local helplines have been set up by National Farmers' Union (NFU) Scotland, to assist its members in dealing with the most common, immediate problems created by the ongoing wintry weather.
calendar icon 12 January 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

Working closely with members,  the Scottish and local government and other organisations, including machinery rings, NFUS has identified the three most significant problems farmers are facing: collapsed farm buildings; a shortage of fuel on farm; and access to livestock.

NFUS has established ways of alleviating these problems and has nominated staff to man the phones to help members affected both by these specific issues and in any other way by the wintry weather.

NFU Scotland’s Chief Executive, James Withers said: "Overall the picture remains pretty positive with farmers managing extremely difficult conditions and helping each other. However we’ve been working to help areas facing particular problems.

"We seem to be experiencing some respite from the worst of the conditions just now which has helped alleviate local pressures in the last 24 hours. However, such is the depth of snow and ice in some areas that problems do persist.

"On over a hundred farms, collapsed farm buildings have left animals without shelter and we shall do our best to put them in touch with alternative accommodation. To that end, we would be grateful for any offers of available livestock accommodation and sincerely thank those who have already come forward.

"The lack of fuel on farms has been helped massively by individuals sharing what they have, although the provision of domestic heating oil remains a problem for a number of rural residencies. We’re happy to speak to government and fuel distributors if there is a particular local problem that a central collection point could help address. Extending the derogation on drivers hours for fuel deliveries may well help to get fuel to needy areas as quickly as possible as snow clears and tankers start to get round the country more readily.

"The thaw over the last day has meant that many farmers that have been denied access to their animals for nearly two weeks in the Borders for example, should be able to get to them in the morning.

"We would reiterate our safety message, given the precarious nature of many farming buildings with significant snow accumulation on the roof. We don’t want anyone putting themselves in danger trying to clear snow.

"In the meantime, if there is an urgent problem on farm we’d encourage our members to pick up the phone to us and we will do what we can to assist."

NFUS has set up helplines for the following areas, which have been worst affected by the weather:

  • Lorna Paterson 07786 860453
  • Kate Maitland 07919 001239

  • Lisa Roberts 07789 796582

  • Ian Wilson 07775 915988

  • NFUS Head Office 0131 472 4000

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