Defra Launches Hardship Fund for Dairy Farmers
Published May 7th, 2020
Dairy farmers in England can apply for up to £10,000 each to help them overcome the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. 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. The funding will help support farmers, who together continue to produce over 40 million litres of milk every day.
Demand for dairy products in the hospitality sector has dropped with the closure of cafes and restaurants, this has led to many dairy farmers facing financial difficulties and some having to throw away thousands of litres of fresh milk due to disruption to the supply chain caused by the virus. The new fund will provide support for those most in need to ensure they can continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.
Eligible dairy farmers will be entitled to up to £10,000, to cover 70% of their lost income during April and May. They must, however, be able to demonstrate they have lost more than a quarter of their income in order to access the funding. There is no cap set on the number of farmers who can receive this support or on the total funding available.
The government has already relaxed competition rules to allow farmers to share staff and facilities with retailers in a bid to reroute produce towards supermarkets, and has backed a £1 million promotional campaign will to help increase sales of dairy products by encouraging the public to drink more milk. The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has launched the 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.
More detail on the fund will be issued in due course.
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