New funding to support dairy farmers through coronavirus
Thursday May 7th, 2020
A new fund will enable eligible dairy farmers in England 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.
The announcement is the latest action from the government to support dairy farmers, building on the unprecedented levels of support already announced by the Chancellor and our recent action to temporarily relax some elements of UK competition law to allow suppliers, retailers and logistics providers in the dairy industry to work more closely together on some of the challenges they are facing.
With some dairy farmers facing financial difficulties and excess milk, 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.
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 – today’s move 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.
It comes as the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has recently launched a new marketing campaign to increase consumption of milk in UK households, funded jointly by the AHDB, Defra, the Scottish Government, Welsh Government, Northern Ireland Executive and Dairy UK.
The £1 million promotional campaign will to help increase sales of dairy products by encouraging the public to drink more milk.