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Farming minister pledges support for Scottish farmers

Speaking at High Barlay near Gatehouse of Fleet, Richard Lochhead said the Scottish Government would give more support to farmers once the scale of the losses to farmers was known but stopped short of outlining what sort of support it would be or how much.

"We are working with the industry to measure the damage caused by the weather to agriculture in south-west Scotland.

"We want to make sure businesses can remain viable and help farms recover. We will make more support available once we understand the scale of the damage.

"It's clear there has been significant economic losses."

– Richard Lochhead, Rural Affairs Secretary

He urged banks and landowners to "lend a sympathetic ear", adding it had been a disaster for farmers.

The Scottish Government has already provided £500,000 to help farmers pay for collection of dead animals lost in the snow.

Rural Affairs Secretary meets local farmers

Richard Lochhead meets local farmers Credit: ITV News Border

The Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead, has been meeting with farmers in Galloway to discuss the impact the severe weather has had on their finances.

Hundreds of farmers struggled to feed their stock and many dairy farmers were forced to throw out their milk as access to and from farms was restricted off due to snow.

Mr Lochhead visited High Barlay farm near of Gatehouse of Fleet, which was badly affected by the heavy snow fall and freezing temperatures.

He answered questions from representatives of the National Farmers Union (NFU) Scotland and the National Sheep Association.

Richard Lochhead has been answering questions from farmers and representatives of the NFU Credit: ITV News Border

Farmers are calling for additional financial help from the Government to help with the cost of collecting fallen stock.

Mr Lochhead said:

"We have highlighted there are a number of other sources of potential support already available, including RSABI - for whom the Scottish Government recently announced support of £50,000.

"I have also given my support to the NFUS in asking the banks to take a sensitive approach to farmers at this challenging time."

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Rural Affairs Secretary to meet with struggling farmers

The Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead is meeting with farmers who have been affected by the severe weather over the past few weeks.

Mr Lochhead will hear about the challenges farmers are facing after losing stock and struggling to source food.

He is visiting a farm near Gatehouse of Fleet that has endured difficult circumstances recently.

"I know the severe winter weather parts of Scotland has experienced has been devastating for our farmers, particularly as it's come at lambing time and when they are also dealing with rising feed costs and demand for more feed.

"When the severe weather struck, the Scottish Government acted quickly, holding emergency discussions with the industry to put in place help and equipment on the ground as well as providing £500,000 support to assist with fallen stock costs."

– Richard Lochhead, Rural Affairs Secretary

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