Atkins - '˜We'll do all we can in bid to help farmers hit by drought'

Louth and Horncastle MP Victoria Atkins has stressed she will do everything she can to help farmers recover from the effects of a hot and dry summer.

Victoria Atkins MP.

While the weather has delivered a significant boost to the region’s tourist economy, farmers have been struggling.

A lack of rain has led to fears of food shortages and the prospect of more price rises in the coming months.

In addition, an increase in animal feed prices has led to reports that many farmers are struggling to break even.

Farming in our area has been affected by the hot, dry weather over the summer.

Ms Atkins - who represents one of the biggest rural constituencies in the country - said she would be meeting Agriculture Minister George Eustice to highlight the importance of supporting farmers.

Ms Atkins said: “We’ve had a lovely hot and sunny summer, but sadly it wasn’t particularly lovely for our farmers.

“I spoke to the NFU recently, so I am aware of the many problems and how difficult a time it is.

“I will be raising with the Agriculture Minister as soon as I can that single payments are made in a timely manner to try to bridge any problems.”

Ms Atkins conceded the hot weather and near drought-like conditions had affected livestock and arable farms.

She said many farmers were reporting annual yields on crops like peas, beans and potatoes were well down on recent years.

She added: “I know that in particular it has been very difficult for our potato farmers.

“We are not quite at the stage yet where we know what yields will be.

“It is almost inevitable there will be rises in prices in shops and supermarkets but again, it is too early to say by how much.

“Time will tell but we live in a global market and the actual price is beyond our control.”

Ms Atkins went on to praise farmers, adding: “We genuinely do feed the country.

“Our farms are doing such innovative things in terms of technology, but they are keeping tradition alive in terms of apprenticeships .

“It (farming) has always been important in this area and I am sure it will continue to be so for many years to come.”