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Compensation for flood-hit farmers unveiled

Published 18/02/2009

Farmers hit by severe flooding in Northern Ireland last summer are to get hardship payments of up to £6,650, it was revealed today.

Agriculture minister Michelle Gildernew announced a special £500,000 fund to help cereal, potato and vegetable growers who lost crops in the heavy rain.

Almost 200 farmers are to benefit from the scheme following the exceptional flooding on August 16.

Department of Agriculture and Rural Development officials assessed the damage and farmers affected will be told by letter on Friday how much they are entitled to.

Only properties sustaining losses of at least £500 will be eligible for payments. Applications for compensation have to be submitted by March 5.

The minister said: "The scheme seeks to distribute the limited funding available as widely and equitably as possible across the potato, cereal and vegetable sectors affected."

Ms Gildernew acknowledged the limited funding would not fully address the loss suffered by farmers but is hopeful it will go some way towards addressing hardship.

She added: "I hope there will be a good take-up of this one off offer of assistance. In the future the industry should look to other means of addressing such loss."

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From Belfast Telegraph