‘Tractor aid’ takes help to Somerset

Darlington and Stockton Times: ON THE ROAD: Philip Rowbottom, front, gets ready for his long tractor drive to Somerset ON THE ROAD: Philip Rowbottom, front, gets ready for his long tractor drive to Somerset

TWO tractors and trailers laden with livestock fodder and bedding set off on a 225-mile journey from Wakefield to Bridgwater in Somerset in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The ten-hour ‘tractor aid’ run was undertaken by Wakefield NFU member Philip Rowbottom and neighbour Andrew Nicholson, who runs an agricultural contracting business. The trailers were each laden with 15 tonnes of silage, haylage, hay and straw.

The cost of the diesel was met by local farmers and the Wakefield NFU branch and all the donated fodder and bedding was sourced by members of the Barugh and District Ploughing Association.

Mr Rowbottom said: “We deliberately wanted to take the donations by tractor and trailer to help highlight the plight of farmers so desperately in need on the Somerset Levels.

“The response from the local farming community has been amazing – it only took a day to get more than we needed for a single load. Yorkshire has had its fair share of severe flooding, so we know only too well the heartbreak it can bring.”

Richard Pearson, North East NFU regional director, said the NFU was working round the clock to provide direct support to members in the South West.

He said: “In the North East, our members have really risen to the challenge, with donations ranging from feed and bedding, as in this instance, through to the offer of dry ground in the form of rearing facilities for beef cattle.

“Having been through the mill themselves with flooding and other weather related crises – such as last spring when lambing was so badly affected by snow – it’s clear they want to reciprocate this year.

“There are now a number of ways that local farmers and the public can support this effort – all of which are detailed, with links, on our website NFUOnline.com.”

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