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The NFU welcomed today's announcement by Minister of Agriculture Nick Brown that he has obtained agreement from Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler that the European Commission will pay agrimoney compensation early to British livestock farmers during the foot & mouth crisis.

The EU has also agreed that the UK Government can invoke "force majeure" provisions to pay support payments to livestock farms in foot & mouth restricted areas without the necessity of prior inspections.

NFU President Ben Gill said "British livestock farmers will appreciate the speed with which the Minister and Commissioner Fischler have recognised the current difficulties and have agreed procedures for making payments to farmers.

"British farmers will be reassured to learn that extra vets are being drafted in from the UK and abroad to help in the crisis."

The Minister also confirmed that the Ministry will be writing to all livestock farmers from next week to appraise them of developments.

Ben Gill said "Foot & mouth disease has caused extreme stress to every farmer in the country. Tension has been made worse by a lack of up-to-date information. I am pleased the Government has responded to our request to write to all livestock producers to advise them of the situation. We hope this information will be regularly updated."

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