England’s dairy farmers will be able to access up to £10,000 each to help them overcome the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
The new funding will help support dairy farmers – who together continue to produce over 40 million litres of milk every day – who have seen decreased demand for their products as bars, restaurants and cafes have had to close.
With some dairy farmers facing financial difficulties, the new fund will provide support for those most in need. Eligible dairy farmers will be entitled to up to £10,000 each, to cover 70% of their lost income during April and May to ensure they can continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.
It also comes as the government backed a £1 million campaign to boost milk consumption and help producers use their surplus stock.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “Our dairy industry plays a crucial role in feeding our nation and we are doing all we can to ensure they are properly supported during this time.
“We’ve already relaxed competition laws so dairy farmers can work together through the toughest months, but recognise there is more to be done. That is why we have kick started a new campaign to boost milk consumption and have announced a further package of funding.”
The dairy sector is the UK’s largest farming sector, with milk accounting for 16.85% of total agricultural output in the UK in 2018. Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, the dairy industry has faced challenges of excess milk, falling prices, and reduced demand from the hospitality sector.
While many farmers have already rerouted their milk supplies to retailers and supermarkets – which have seen increased demand in recent weeks – the new announcement will give the farmers in the greatest need the financial assurance to ensure they can remain operational, sustain production capacity and continue to meet animal welfare demands at this time.
Eligible dairy farmers who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to coronavirus disruptions will be eligible to access this funding for those qualifying months, with no cap set on the number of farmers who can receive this support or on the total funding available.