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Friday, April 5, 2013

Government urged to provide maximum help for snow-hit farmers

Denbighshire County Council is calling on the Welsh Government to ensure that as much support as possible is made available to farmers who have lost animals during the recent severe cold weather.

And the Leader of the Council, Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, has invited the Minister to visit Denbighshire to hear of the impact of the losses.

Welsh Government Minister Alun Davies has announced a temporary agreement from midnight on April 3 for farmers in Denbighshire to bury sheep, lambs and calves over the next seven days, if a stock collector cannot access farms.
 
The Government says that farmers will be required to provide evidence that collectors were unable to access the farm.

Any farmers wanting advice or intending to bury their animals must notify the Council's Animal Health Team at County Hall, Ruthin on 01824 706086.

Farmers will be asked to record the burials  in their movement book, with tag numbers if appropriate and the burial site location.

Councillor Evans said: "As a farmer myself, I can truly appreciate the plight of farmers in many parts of Wales that have suffered losses as a result of the severe weather.  The extreme amount of snow that fell in Denbighshire and surrounding counties was unprecedented and for many residents it caused extreme inconvenience.

"For many the snow will eventually thaw and lives will return to normal.  However, there are some farmers that have lost a lot of animals and in the short term their main consideration is disposing of those animals. In the long term, farmers will need to consider the financial loss.

"We welcome the fact that the Welsh Government is to relax rules for seven days which allows farmers to bury their dead animals on their own land if stock collectors cannot access farms,  but unless the snow thaws quickly, the seven days may not be enough time.

"The full extent of the impact on individual farm businesses may not be known for some time and only when the snow has thawed that a full inspection of the holding can be completed. We would like the Minister  to see for himself how farmers and their families in Denbighshire have suffered."

Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, said: "Farmers in Denbighshire and other areas have suffered tremendously as a result of the heavy snow and only over the next days and weeks will the true extent of the issue be known. The Council has worked tirelessly to clear country lanes as quickly as possible, to allow feed to get to farms, but there is only so much we can do.

"Also,  with farming being the backbone of the rural economy, it is essential that farmers also have the best level of assistance possible to try and recoup some of their losses, not only from perished animals but also from damaged fencing that will need to be replaced.

"We hope that the Welsh Government engages with the agricultural sector long after the snow has thawed, to gauge the impact and what assistance may be required."

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