Funding support package for dairy farmers secured by NFU and industry-wide campaigning

The herd at James Chatham's farm

A support package to help English dairy farmers hit by an economic storm caused by the Coronavirus pandemic has been announced by government.

It follows considerable NFU and industry-wide campaigning for urgent help for the dairy sector.

The financial support comes after the almost complete closure of foodservice and hospitality outlets, resulting in the loss of a market for around 8 million litres of milk every week. This has affected more than three quarters of all dairy farmers through drops in milk price or delayed payments. 

NFU President Minette Batters said: “Thankfully, the Secretary of State has heard our calls for help and is stepping in to prevent a catastrophe for the dairy sector.

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"This package of support from Defra will help many iconic dairy farming businesses facing an uncertain future as a result of the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak. We know that the dairy sector is just one of many sectors that have been affected by Coronavirus, but we appreciate the hard work Defra has put in to secure this much-needed financial support for many dairy farming families who face losing their businesses.”

NFU dairy board chairman Michael Oakes said: “The NFU alongside other industry representatives have worked relentlessly over the past few weeks to ensure support reaches those hard-working dairy farmers facing immediate financial hardship due to the effects of market volatility. 

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“While this support package will be helpful for those farmers who are currently under considerable financial strain, we believe a combination of measures are needed in order to stabilise the industry’s viability for the medium and long term. Dairy farmers need much better contractual protection than they currently enjoy and that needs to be examined by government as a matter of urgency once we move to the recovery phase of the current crisis.

“We are also concerned that the fund covers England only, but will work with the devolved administrations to ensure that support reaches all farmers affected.”

:: More than 2370 letters have been written to 400 MPs as part of an NFU campaign calling for urgent help for the UK’s dairy industry. The online ‘Write to your MP’ campaigning tool can be found here.


More of the NFU's work on dairy and COVID-19

MPs urged to put pressure on government to support British dairy industry

Dairy and COVID-19 Q&A

£1m promotional campaign unites dairy industry

Dairy media coverage of the impact of coronavirus

Coronavirus: How is the NFU working for you on issues affecting the dairy sector?


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Click here to use the NFU's COVID-19 business impact service.

By using this form, farmers and growers can provide information on any business-critical issues they have encountered, or expect to encounter, arising from the COVID-19 outbreak. The NFU will log this information and use it in an anonymised format to flag the key issues agriculture and horticulture are facing to government on a daily basis. However, no personal data will be shared with the government. The service is for all farmers and growers across the UK.

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  • Posted by: G DaviesPosted on: 08/05/2020 10:27:41

    Comment: Very disappointed to note that he £10k funding has only been given to the English Farmers - Welsh farmers are in the same boat here and I sincerely hope that the NFU are lobbying extremely hard to provide funding for Wales.

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