The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced a further EU aid scheme for small dairy farmers and pig producers in Northern Ireland.

Issuing an update on the implementation of the £4.1m EU Exceptional Adjustment Aid (EAA) package, originally announced near the end of 2016, a departmental spokesperson said:

DAERA is committed to maximising our eligible spend of EAA for the benefit of dairy and other livestock farmers.

“The measures first announced last November are demand-led and the level of expenditure is driven by farmer uptake. It is now clear that those measures will not use up the full Northern Ireland allocation of EAA funding. For that reason, we have added a further component to the package to help use up any remaining funds here.

“However, we are restricted to those UK measures notified to the European Commission last November and which can be implemented relatively quickly and easily within the EU expenditure deadline.

"DAERA has secured legal provision for an English scheme to be extended to small dairy farmers in Northern Ireland. There is no scope for DAERA to vary the conditions of the English scheme.

“Northern Irish farmers are eligible to register their interest if they had annual cows’ milk production of up to 1mL during the period April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016, and are still active in milk production. Payments will be on a pence-per-litre basis, capped at 500,000L of supply.”

Application forms will be made available to farmers in Northern Ireland shortly on the Rural Payments Agency website. The closing date for applications to the scheme is expected to be May 31, 2017.

DAERA also plans to use part of the funding secured under the EU EAA package to help pig producers in Northern Ireland participate in a worm control programme.

The Pig Industry Competitiveness scheme aims to improve the quality of local pig-meat and will cover the cost of in-feed medication for pig herds and the blanket treatment of sows. It will also cover the cost of medication acquired from the veterinary practitioner for the individual treatment of sows prior to farrowing.

Funding will only apply to medication purchased after the producer has been accepted onto the scheme by DAERA. Further details about the EU EAA scheme, including how producers can apply, will be available on the department’s website from week commencing May 8, 2017.

It is expected that the closing date for applications for the scheme will be May 31, 2017.