Agriculture: Floods

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 15 May 2024.

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Photo of Mark Menzies Mark Menzies Independent, Fylde

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an estimate of the financial cost to farmers of flooding in the last 12 months.

Photo of Robbie Moore Robbie Moore The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

In March, Defra published its forecasts of Farm Business Income, a measure of profit, for 2023/24. These forecasts reflect changes to price, crop area and yield in 2023, but not the impact of more recent weather events. The results of the 2023/24 Farm Business Survey will be published in autumn 2024.

The recent ‘Balance Sheet Analysis’ publication highlights that average liquidity in the sector has been consistently improving over the latest five years of data and reached a 10-year high in 2022/23. This indicates that farm businesses have been keeping back funds in recent profitable years to help sustain the business in less profitable periods.

It is too early to make definitive conclusions on the impact of more recent weather events on farm profitability. We have no reliable forecasts of yields, largely as spring planting is still underway. Additionally, for many farmers any financial impact that arises will not be felt until later in 2024/25. On this basis we continue to work closely with stakeholders to enhance our monitoring of the wet weather and its impact on farms.

In April, Defra opened the Farming Recovery Fund to offset the financial cost to some of the most impacted farm businesses by providing grants of up to £25,000 for uninsurable flood damage.

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