Support for the dairy industry during the Coronavirus outbreak

Defra has now confirmed that eligible dairy farmers will be able to access up to £10,000 of support. They will be able to claim the money to cover 70 per cent of lost income during April and May to ensure they can continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

The dairy industry is the largest sector in UK agriculture, with milk accounting for 16.85 per cent of the total agricultural output in 2018. However, since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the industry has faced challenges of excess milk, falling prices, and reduced demand from now-closed restaurants, cafes and hotels.

Many farmers have already re-routed milk supplies to retailers and supermarkets to meet increased demand from households in lockdown and some farmers have had to pour milk away.

Environment Secretary George Eustice commented “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.”

In addition to this funding, a campaign has been set up to get UK households drinking more milk, which is being funded jointly by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Dairy UK, Defra, the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive.

The £1m campaign will encourage consumers to reconnect with loved ones and family and remind them of the role liquid milk plays in these moments, whether it’s a cup of tea over the fence, or a milkshake in the garden with the kids. A campaign of this nature will appear on television for the first time in over 10 years, as well as having a substantial social media and digital presence.

AHDB’s Chief Marketing Officer, Christine Watts commented: “This new innovative marketing campaign is a fantastic demonstration of what can be achieved when industry and Government join together to meet a common supply chain challenge. It will support dairy farmers and processors in driving demand for milk within households across the UK. It will link consumers’ love of the great taste of milk and dairy with how we are all having to manage these challenging times at home and at work.”

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