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The NFU will spell out their dismay over the surprise cuts in rates for the welfare disposal scheme at a meeting with Agriculture Minister of State Baroness Hayman on Friday.

The meeting follows the announcement by Agriculture Minister Nick Brown last week that payments for certain categories of animals were to be reduced from 30 April.

NFU President Ben Gill said: "We will be fighting strongly against this decision, which is hitting the most vulnerable producers. It is a lifeline for many farmers who have no other option for their livestock.

"We are particularly concerned about those producers who were already caught up in the scheme, especially those under Form D restrictions, and who now stand to lose out financially because no consideration was given to the huge backlog of animals."

The meeting will be held at MAFF headquarters at Nobel House and will be attended by Mr Gill, other senior NFU officials and representatives from the NPA including its chairman James Black.

The NFU is also taking advice from solicitors on the change to compensation rates under the Welfare Disposal Scheme.

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