Covid-19 dairy hardship fund set to open for applications

Eligible farmers will be able to submit applications directly to the Rural Payments Agency from 18 June, with payments expected from 6 July
Eligible farmers will be able to submit applications directly to the Rural Payments Agency from 18 June, with payments expected from 6 July

The government's dairy hardship fund created to help farmers in England overcome the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis will soon open for applications.

Eligible dairy producers will be able to apply up to £10,000 from 18 June when applications open, farming minister Victoria Prentis confirmed today (3 June).

Farmers who have experienced 25% price losses in April and May will be able to apply for a single payment from the fund.

Dairy farmers have faced severe financial difficulties and excess milk due to the coronavirus outbreak.



The hardship fund, which will be paid out from 6 July, aims to help farmers maintain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare, following reduced demand for milk as restaurants, bars and cafes have closed.

Qualifying farmers can apply for support to cover up to 70% of their losses due to disruption across April and May, up to a total amount of £10,000 each.



Victoria Prentis said the application process for the government's new dairy fund would begin 'shortly'.

"There is no cap set on the number of farmers who can receive this support or on the total funding available, and we will do everything we can to help our farmers at this time," she said.

To be eligible for support from the fund, farmers will need to demonstrate that they have suffered a reduction in the base price paid for their milk of 25% or more in April 2020 when compared with February 2020.

Further details of the fund and application process will be shared by the Rural Payments Agency in the coming weeks, the government said.

It follows the announcement of a new £1m campaign which aims to highlight the role dairy plays in people's lives during Covid-19 lockdown.

The 12-week promotional push was launched by industry groups in partnership with the government.