Payments to help farmers and crofters offset the cost of fallen stock retrieval have begun.
In April, the Scottish Government launched a £250,000 fund to help cover the additional costs for the uplift and disposal of sheep and cattle that died between February and April.
The first payments from the fund, which is administered by the National Fallen Stock Company (NFSCo), have started and 2,930 farmers and crofters will benefit from an average payment of £85.32 each.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said the fallen stock fund was part of a wider package of government support offered to farmers and crofters following the late spring and unexpected snow.
He said other support included assistance with cash flow through Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS) and Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) loan schemes, specialist advice through the Farm Advisory Service, and a derogation from the European Commission for the three-crop rule.
“I saw first-hand the impact that the prolonged wet and severe weather had on farmers, resulting in higher numbers of dead animals, and acute shortages in fodder across the country,” said Mr Ewing.
“The Scottish Government realised the importance of helping farmers through that tough time and so, amongst other measures, we decided to set up a £250,000 fund to help offset part of the additional costs farmers have faced in the uplift and disposal of dead sheep and cattle.”
He said he hoped the payments would bring some benefit to farmers who continue to battle on through a challenging year of weather.
NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick welcomed the support payments.
He said: “After the difficult conditions farmers and crofters throughout the country faced this winter and spring, I am relieved to see the Scottish Government making good on their promise to give a financial help to those who were worst affected.
“It is never easy to lose stock and when it is on the huge scale that it was for many this year it can be a significant financial loss, both at the time for collection of the fallen animals and the loss of future financial earnings.
“The average payment of £85 per farmer will knock something off the cost per head that farmers faced in having dead animals collected.
“It may not feel like a lot, but it is proving to be a year when every pound saved will be welcome.”