Dairy farmers hit by lockdown to get up to £10,000 in support

Dairy farmers struggling in the face of the coronavirus lockdown will each be able to access up to £10,000 of support, the Government has announced.

The move comes after calls from farming leaders to help the sector, which has faced a slump demand for milk from restaurants, cafes and hotels.

It has forced some farmers to pour away milk and has put businesses at risk of folding.

Many farmers have already rerouted milk supplies to retailers and supermarkets to meet increased demand in recent weeks from households.

The Government said the fund will help those struggling most.

Farmers in England who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to coronavirus disruptions will be eligible for the support, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

They will be able to claim up to £10,000 to cover 70% of lost income during April and May to ensure they can continue to operate and maintain production capacity without harming animal welfare.

A £1 million campaign to get UK households drinking more milk, funded jointly by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Defra, the Scottish Government, Welsh Government, Northern Ireland Executive and Dairy UK has also been launched.

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.”

He added: “We will continue to stand alongside our dairy farmers through this difficult period.”