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    “Tractor Aid” to see northern farmers driving south with supplies to help flood hit colleagues

    NewsWednesday 12 February 2014
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    A group of farmers in the north of England are setting off to help their colleagues in the South West in a 225 mile “tractor aid” operation.
     
    This fantastic sign of solidarity and support will see these farmers heading down in their tractors pulling trailers that are loaded with 15 tonnes of silage, haylage, hay and straw.
     
    They are heading down today from Wakefield in West Yorkshire, to Bridgewater in Somerset. 
     
    According to the Western Morning News, the run, which will take ten hours, is being carried out by Philip Rowbottom and his neighbour Andrew Nicholson. 
     
    Mr Rowbottom is from the Wakefield branch of the NFU and Mr Nicholson runs and agricultural contracting business in the area. 
     
    They will be driving their tractors down, with the cost of the diesel being met by local farmers and the Wakefield NFU branch. 
     
    And, as the community rallies to support the Somerset farmers, it is believed that other farmers could join the convoy. 
     
    The NFU has spoken about this brilliant gesture stating that all of the donated fodder and bedding has been sourced by members of the Barugh and District Ploughing Association, in Wakefield. 
     
    Speaking to the Western Morning News, 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 – in fact it only took a day to get more than we needed for a single load.
     
    “The fact that Andrew Nicholson has offered to accompany me with a second load is superb as it means we will be able to take everything donated so far.
     
    “Hopefully our journey will help highlight the solidarity we all feel with those farmers in Somerset who are facing such tough times. We hope drivers will give us a hoot on their horns when they see us en route to spur us on.”
     
    Mr Rowbottom also spoke about the task ahead saying that whilst he didn’t have any fodder to donate, he could offer his time. 
     
    “Yorkshire has had its fair share of severe flooding, so we know only too well the heart-break it can bring,” he said.
     
    “Seeing the situation develop over recent days in Somerset left many of us wanting to help and show just how the farming industry can respond.”
     
    NFU Regional Director Richard Pearson 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.”
     
    Picture courtesy of Amanda Slater.
     
     
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