Drought: focus moves to 2013

EAST Anglian farmers examining the implications of the current drought are set to move their focus to 2013 when they meet next week.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) is due to meet the Environment Agency (EA) on Monday at the regional headquarters in Newmarket. They will look at the latest situation and prospects for 2013 in the latest in a series of regional drought summits.

The NFU’s Paul Hammett said: “Recent rainfall has provided some short-term relief but we need much more to repair the damage caused by two years of below-average rain. That’s why we are starting to think about the prospects for next year and how we can plan even further ahead.”

The Environment Agency’s national drought manager, Graham Wilson, is among those attending the meeting, which starts at 10.30am.

Mr Hammett said the NFU would be talking to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) about how the Rural Development Programme grants scheme can be used to help farmers improve their water security. It will also be looking even further ahead, to the Water White Paper and how water may be shared between competing users in the long-term.

“We will be making a strong case for a fair share of water for farmers,” said Mr Hammett.