Farmers get respite from frost

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UP TO 1,000 sugar beet farmers in the region have been given some respite from the winter weather with a package of exceptional measures introduced by British Sugar.

In a normal season, farmers who do not produce the amount of beet for which they were contracted could be penalised by having their contract with British Sugar reduced the following season.

But given the impact of the unprecedented weather experienced over the last few months, British Sugar has said it will not invoke this clause for farms with a shortfall of crop for the 2010-2011 season.

Farms that produced insufficient beet will also be able to delay paying for their seed, which is usually taken out of their beet production, without British Sugar charging interest on the money owed.

And as farmers enter the 2011-2012 season there is more good news – growers who meet 100 per cent of the contracted amount of beet will receive a one-off payment which will amount to 50 per cent of the seed they drill in the new season.

And any extra beet that is grown over their contracted amount will be bought at full price, not at a reduced price, which is what usually happens.

The exceptional measures, which have been introduced as part of an agreement between British Sugar and the National Farmers’ Union aimed at instilling more optimism amongst the region’s farming community.