NIAPA are requesting that DAERA take immediate action to alleviate some of the problems left in the wake of the flooding, after representatives of the group visited some of the farms in the Glenelly, Gortin, area last week to view the damage caused by the recent storm.
The sheer devastation to land and property, the destruction of fencing along miles of farmland and the deaths of livestock coupled with the immediate loss of grazing land plus winter fodder land have contributed greatly to both the financial burden and stress on a large number of farm families.
This is in no way minimising the impact on other families in towns and villages in the surrounding areas but in this instance there is a short term impact on both buildings and businesses but one which will have long term devastating effects on the future livelihood and income of these farm families.
A spokesperson for NIAPA said: “We have already advised all those affected in any way to photograph and record all damage for future reference. In fact from a farming perspective photographic evidence of damage to land through flooding or deposits of silt and stone etc. will greatly assist with a Force Majeure claim in relation to single farm payment.
“It is essential that anyone who is affected contact DAERA on 03002007848 to request a Force Majeure application or download one from the DAERA website. The completed application must be returned immediately. We have already been contacted by some farmers regarding this and will assist with completion of application if requested.
“A second immediate consequence of the floods is the debris scattered across the pasture land comprising of sand, gravel, silt, trees and dead livestock which needs to be removed.
“Given the potential environmental impact of this, farmers urgently need both financial and technical support to begin the clean-up operation to restore the land to agricultural production. This is a long term situation which must commence as soon as possible. It must also be emphasised that all technical support is to help and assist as it is a Force Majeure situation.
“A third major problem facing the farming community is that miles of fencing has been destroyed making it difficult to retain stock on the land. This is particularly dangerous as much of the fencing is along river banks enclosing grazing land which means loss of grazing for livestock. This in turn will necessitate earlier housing of stock with increased slurry production compounding storage problems with a closed spreading period approaching and potential land spread area waterlogged.
“We have only highlighted some of the mounting difficulties being faced by farm families which need to be considered and addressed by DAERA particularly in areas of natural constraint from which funding has been removed with a view to being completely withdrawn.
“We need a concerted and coordinated effort between agencies and stakeholders to draw up a strategy to deal with this crisis but there are immediate issues which DAERA need to address urgently. While we have referred to the Gortin/Glenelly areas, there are other areas throughout the province similarly affected and any developing strategy would apply to all regions affected.”