More haulage volunteers are needed to deliver desperately-needed forage to Cumbrian farmers. 

Farmers around the county who were devastated by the floods of last December are now running out of forage and bedding.

And with lambing season now underway in some parts, pleas of help from the Forage Aid charity are growing.

Many farmers have found themselves with little or no pasture for animals at turnout with flood-damaged farmland undergoing a massive clean-up operation.

The charity, which helped Cumbrian farmers in the aftermath of the devastating snow storms of March 2013, is finding itself “busier than ever”.

Founder Andrew Ward told The Cumberland News that offers of forage and bedding have been flooding in from all over the country but they are struggling to find enough lorries to transport it to the county.

“Commercial rates to transport the forage and bedding is costing around £400 to £500 per trip from our base in Lincolnshire to Cumbria,” said Mr Ward.

More than 400 lorry-loads of forage and bedding have been donated but Mr Ward said some of that has already been delivered to the areas most in need.

“The support has been fantastic for donations but what we need is lorries to get it up to the county. We are really asking for anybody who has lorries who can do it for free,” added Mr Ward.

“Pleas for forage have increased, and we knew it would, partly because those who have used up flood-damaged haylage have now run out and they are now running into the lambing season where more will be needed.

“Some farmers lost everything and we have been helping them since mid-December and there are those who have had to bring sheep in early because of the floods and have been using up more crop,” added Mr Ward, who is also an arable farmer.

One haulage contractor who is helping transport forage is Cockermouth farmer Jim Lawson.

“He is an 81-year-old farmer as well as
in haulage. His buildings were demolished in the floods so we are helping him with forage, and he is letting us use his lorries,” said Mr Ward.

Mr Ward and the Forage Aid Charity are part of the Cumbrian Farm Flood Action Group set up after Storm Desmond wreaked havoc.

“I’ve been attending group meetings and while up in Cumbria have had some drop-in sessions at local marts to get ourselves known. We’ve found that accepting our help doesn’t have the same stigma it did,” said Mr Ward.

To get involved with the charity and donate visit the Forage Aid website or email .