Defra to offer Covid-19 financial support to struggling dairy farmers
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 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.
It also comes as the government today 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 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.”
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.
It comes as the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has today 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 Environment Secretary said he would continue to meet regularly with representatives of the food and farming industry to ensure people can get the food and groceries they need.