TWO Somerset MPs are calling for more support for farmers. 

With the horrendous weather this year, as well as changes to agriculture payments, Ian Liddell-Grainger MP and Sarah Dyke MP are calling for more government support for those who put food on our tables.

Ms Dyke has signed a letter asking the Conservatives to do more to support farmers affected by flooding. The letter was written by Helen Morgan, MP for North Shropshire, and Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

In a House of Commons debate last week, Ms Dyke outlined the challenges faced by a constituent who farms near Langport. His farm was flooded for six months over the winter, which cost thousands in lost crops and limited the ability to graze cattle in the summer. 

“It is not this year but next year that he will feel the financial impact of the winter flooding,” said Ms Dyke, MP for Somerton and Frome.

“He understands that farming land must sometimes be sacrificed to flooding in order to save thousands of homes further down the river catchment, but he should be able to realise compensation as a consequence; the alternative will be to risk losing his business.

"He told me that following the end of basic payments and the limited options available within the sustainable farming incentive scheme, the farm is solely dependent on income from agriculture to cover the lost earnings due to flooding.”

The Secretary of State announced plans to expand the farming recovery fund last week - and have said once they have reviewed the fund, those who are elegible will be contacted.

A Defra spokesperson added: “We want to make sure the Farming Recovery Fund offers the support farmers need to recover from uninsurable damage.

“It’s why we immediately listened and responded to feedback on the launch of the initial phase of this scheme. We’ll continue to listen to farmers and look at how we can expand the scheme and improve support for those affected.”

As well as this, at the Farm to Fork Summit, plans to provide further support for farmers affected by the weather were announced. This includes £75million to support Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs).

READ MORE: Here's what the PM will say at Farm to Fork summit

Mr Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, could not attend the debate in the House of Commons but said he would be writing a letter to Steve Barclay, Enivronment Secretary, warning that there would be 'dire consequences' if proposals to cut £1billion from the agriculture support budget went ahead. 

“Unfortunately because the debate was only recently announced I cannot be in the House to speak against this measure but I am writing to Mr Barclay setting out my views - and they are that I am absolutely outraged the Government is being so stupid as to even contemplate this,” Mr Liddell-Grainger said.

“Many of [the environmental schemes] come with investment costs, such as with tree planting.

“So effectively the net value of the support payments is far less than is being claimed.

“That apart the long-term policy of tapering the payments is one that was decided upon in far different circumstances. We hadn’t then been hit by the extremes of weather which now appear to be the new normal and in the light of which we cannot carry on slavishly adhering to old ideas.

“This year farmers have been hit by the perfect storm of increased prices and an anticipated disastrous fall in income because of the havoc wreaked by the weather.

“Harvest yields are looking bleak and there are already warnings of food shortages and price rises in the shops. All the Government is going to achieve by bulldozing ahead with a catastrophic cut in direct support is to make both those outcomes ever more certain.

“Ministers need to understand that British farming is in mortal danger.”