dairy farm cow

As the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic continues to grow, the government has announced new measures to help support Britain’s dairy farmers.

Demand for milk has slumped in recent weeks due to the closure of much of the hospitality trade – although this has been partially offset by an increase in retail sales, many dairy farmers are still faced with reduced prices and excess milk.

Although full details of the new coronavirus support package have not yet been released, the key measure announced by Environment Secretary George Eustice is that grants of up to £10,000 will be made available to dairy farmers to cover 70% of their lost income in April and May.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have indicated that more information about eligibility and how to claim a grant will be made available in due course, although the initial announcement suggests that only those farmers who have lost more than 25% of their income during April and May will be able to claim.

As with many other measures introduced in response to the pandemic, these grants are intended to help recipients ‘weather the storm’, ensuring that production capacity and animal welfare are affected as little as possible by the reduction in demand.

Alongside direct assistance for dairy farmers, the government has also announced a new £1m publicity campaign aimed at boosting consumer sales by encouraging households to drink more milk.