The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) has welcomed news of a financial support package for dairy farmers in England who have seen a decreased demand for their products as a direct result of COVID-19.

In an announcement by DEFRA, dairy farmers in England will be entitled to claim up to £10,000 each to cover 70% of their lost income during April and May.

Dairy farmers who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to coronavirus disruptions will be eligible to access this funding for those qualifying months.

No cap will be set on the number of farmers who can receive this support or on the total funding available.

The RABDF is hopeful the money will help support those farmers most severely affected.

RABDF chairman Peter Alvis said: “We are thankful DEFRA has taken the dairy industry’s needs seriously and has produced a financial support package.

“We would like DEFRA to keep reviewing support measures for the industry as we are conscious that should our farmers continue to be impacted for an extended period, we will need the government to act quickly and look at some additional support.”

Mr Alvis urged producers receiving a reduced milk value or having to discard milk as a result of Covid-19 to continue filling in the RABDF milk losses survey at rabdf/

He added: “We presented the first round of data to Government last week and we need to continue presenting them with this data. Only by having accurate data can we highlight when additional support is needed.”

Mr Alvis also urged the devolved administrations to follow in DEFRA’s footsteps.

He said: “Interim results from our survey showed County Antrim was the fourth worst affected county with 1.2 million litres of milk receiving a reduced value or not being collected. As a result, the devolved governments need to look at offering similar support.”

He said the Government also needed to consider the needs of sheep, goat and buffalo farmers producing milk, with many directly affected as a result of the disruption to the food service sector.