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Dairy Farmers Hardship Fund

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Hardship Fund for Dairy Farmers

A new fund available from the government will enable eligible dairy farmers in England up to £10,000 each to help them to overcome the impact on their business of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Over 40 million litres of milk is produced by England’s dairy farmers every day, despite demand dropping due to the enforced closure of bars, restaurants and cafes.

The announcement on the 6th May is one of the recent actions by Government to support dairy farmers, in addition to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s action to temporarily relax some elements of the UK’s competition law, which has allowed suppliers, retailer and logistics providers in the dairy industry to work more closely together on some of the challenges that they are facing.

70% of Dairy Farmers’ Lost Income Covered

Financial difficulties and excess milk are immediate threats to England’s dairy industry which has led Government to provide a fund for eligible farmers to claim £10,000 each to cover 70% of their lost income during April & May. It is expected that this funding should enable farmers to continue to operate a sustained level of production and thus remove any negative impact on the welfare of the affected cattle.

In addition, the government have also backed a £1million campaign to boost milk consumption and help farmers with their surplus stock.

George Eustice, Environment Secretary, said in a recent statement: ‘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 much more to be done. That is why today we have kick started a new campaign to boost milk consumption and have announced a further package of funding. We will continue to stand alongside our dairy farmers through this difficult period.”

Accounting for the largest segment of British farming, the dairy sector produces 16.85% of total UK agricultural output in its production of milk. Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, excess supply and reduced demand has seen prices fall. Via a re-routing of supply to retailers and supermarkets, to support their increased demand, in addition to the grant scheme offered by government, it is hoped that dairy farmers will be able to remain operational, sustain production and support animal welfare.

Dairy Farmers’ Eligibility

Any dairy farmers who have seen a reduction in their income of more than 25% of their income over April & May due to the Coronavirus outbreak, will be eligible for funding over the qualifying months.

Campaign to Boost UK Milk Consumption

The campaign to increase consumption of milk throughout UK households is a jointly funded marketing strategy in partnership between the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), DEFRA, the Scottish Government, Welsh Government, Norther Ireland Executive and Dairy UK.

AHDB’s Chief Marketing Officer commented that; “This new innovative campaign is a fantastic demonstration of what can be achieved when industry and Government join together to meet a common supply chain challenge. It will support dairy farmers and processors in driving demand for milk within households across the UK. It will link consumers’ love of the great taste of milk and dairy with how we are all having to manage these challenging times at home and work.”

We expect new details around the hardship fund to be announced in due course.

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