South Shropshire MP Philip Dunne has welcomed government support for the dairy sector to help those farmers who have lost substantial outlets for their milk due to the Coronavirus restrictions.
Following concerns raised with Ministers by farming bodies endorsed by Mr Dunne and other MPs, the government this week announced 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 promotional campaign to boost milk consumption and help producers use their surplus stock. Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, parts of the dairy supply chain has been severely affected facing challenges with excess milk, falling prices, and a collapse in demand from the hospitality sector.
Mr Dunne said: “The lockdown has brought particular pressures on dairy farmers, whose cows still produce milk daily and need feeding, while for many their markets have significantly reduced with closure of restaurants, cafes, and food service businesses. I have been pressing both Defra and Treasury Ministers to put forward a hardship fund to help tide badly affected dairy farmers over this very difficult period.
So I am delighted the government has put in place this additional support of up to £10,000 for affected farms, to make up for lost income in April and May. I believe this will help considerably in relieving the immediate financial pressure on those dairy farmers who have seen much of the market for their milk disappear.”
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.
More information on how to access the scheme will be released by Defra in due course.