Friday, October 19, 2018

Heatwave sees surge in calls to farm charity

July 31, 2018 by  
Filed under News & Business

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution is bracing itself for a surge in calls for help from farmers due to the summer heatwave.

RABI chairman Malcolm Thomas said: “As things stand, I’d envisage a busy autumn and winter for, with many livestock farmers already forced to feed winter rations to their stock. Having to buy more feed will quickly drive up overheads.”

He added: “We’ve not seen weather like this in decades – and it’s worth remembering that it comes hot on the heels of a long cold winter and a particularly wet spring this year, which resulted in floods in many areas.

Farmers have been constantly forced to reassess and change plans for some time now, said Mr Thomas. “Many had to house cattle indoors much longer than usual in March and April, depleting valuable food stocks in the process.”

RABI received 31 calls for help from 16-24 July alone. Mr Thomas said: “Those figures are exceptionally high for this time of year and although they are not all weather-related cases, our welfare team is very busy at present.”

He added: “It’s likely to get worse. A lot of people are affected and deeply concerned. We usually find there’s a time lag between someone suffering hardship and contacting us for help, so we expect to receive even more calls in the coming weeks and months.”

Founded in 1860, the RABI is farming’s oldest and largest welfare charity. Last year, it distributed almost £2m in grants to farming people of all ages in financial need. This included emergency grants and contributions towards domestic bills.

Mr Thomas said: “Reacting to what the elements throw at you is part of a farmer’s life and most in the sector accept that. However, extreme weather, like we’ve seen recently, creates extreme challenges that make it impossible to plan for anything.”

The RABI helpline number is 0808 281 9490.   

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