Dairy farmers will be able to access up to £10,000 each to help them overcome the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the UK government announced.
The funding will help support dairy farmers who have seen decreased demand for their products as bars, restaurants and cafes have had to close.
The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said farmers would be entitled to up to £10,000 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”.
The dairy sector is the UK’s largest farming sector, with milk accounting for almost 17% of total agricultural output in the UK. It produces more than 40m litres of milk every day.
The National Farmers’ Union said the closure of the hospitality sector had resulted in the loss of a market for around 8m litres of milk every week and affected more than three-quarters of all dairy farmers through drops in milk price or delayed payments.
Last month, the government announced it would temporarily relax elements of competition law to allow retailers, suppliers and logistics services in the dairy industry to work together to address market challenges, avoid waste and maintain capacity to meet future demand.
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.”
In April, dairy manufacturer Müller was reported to have told farmers across Scotland to cut milk production because of an oversupply.
According to the BBC, it wrote to more than 250 dairy farmers asking them to reduce output due to changing consumer habits caused by the coronavirus crisis.
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