EMERGENCY funding of £300,000 has been donated to help farmers who are struggling to make ends meet as they battle with flooding and spiralling feed prices.
Countless local farming businesses have been hit by the cold, wet summer and frequent flooding through the autumn and winter.
The funding was announced at a meeting called by His Royal Highness Prince Charles with the leaders of rural charities including The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI), Farm Crisis Network and the Addington Fund.
The Prince's Countryside Fund will donate £150,000 while the Duke of Westminster confirmed that he will personally match the funding and donate an additional £150,000. The money will be distributed among the various charities and used to help farmers who have been hit financially as a result of the recent poor weather.
NFU representative Ruth Kimber, who farms at Higher Stavordale, near Wincanton, said: "It is great that the problem has been recognised and the contribution will be greatly appreciated but the situation is still serious. The funding will only go a little way towards the physical and financial damage that has been done."
RABI chief executive Paul Burrows said he hoped that the gesture would encourage others to make a much-needed contribution to help farmers through increasingly difficult times.
"We are immensely grateful to the Prince's Countryside Fund and the Duke of Westminster for giving such generous support to help us help farming people when they need it most, and to Prince Charles for personally providing a lead which we hope others will follow."
RABI provides support to farming families in financial difficulty and saw a rapid rise in calls for help last year, particularly during the period of widespread flooding in November.