Gove tells farmers he will help them survive drought


Environment Secretary Michael Gove has said he will support farmers through the “unprecedented” effect of drought conditions brought on by the hot weather.

Mr Gove is meeting the National Farmers’ Union in London as it holds an urgent meeting over “tinderbox” conditions that have dried out fields and reduced grass growth.

It has been the driest first half of the summer for more than 50 years and farmers say the “crippling impact” of a lack of rain has affected harvests.

Cracks in a farmer's field near Altringham in Cheshire
Image: The NFU says there has been no significant rain since May

There is also uncertainty over Brexit, such as changes to farmers’ subsidies and the availability of EU workers.

Mr Gove said: “We will make sure farmers have what they need in order to provide us with high-quality food and ensure their businesses survive.

“We want to be flexible and we don’t want to allow bureaucracy to get in the way of providing farmers with the support they deserve and the country needs.”

He added that it was important to support future food production and “ensure we can improve and enhance our resilience against the challenge of climate change”.

Scientists have said the heatwave conditions in Europe were made twice as likely by climate change and they warned the UK will get more prolonged hot spells in the future.

NFU President Minette Batters said the recent conditions were “unprecedented”.

Video: Brexit: Farmers warn of crops rotting in fields

She told the BBC: “I’ve been farming for 25 years myself and we’ve never been feeding cattle at this time of the year, and we are at the moment, and that is the case right across the country.

“We haven’t had any appreciable rainfall since May.”

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She said it was too soon to know whether poor harvests would lead to higher prices for shoppers.

According to the NFU, farming is the bedrock of the largest manufacturing sector, food and drink, which contributes £111bn to the country’s economy and provides 3.8 million jobs.

From – SkyNews


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