Dairy farmers who have seen a coronavirus-related cut to their income are set to receive up to £10,000 of financial support, Defra has announced.
The department said the cash would cover up to 70% of lost income during April and May to ensure farms could continue to operate and sustain production capacity without affecting animal welfare.
Dairy farmers who have lost more than 25% of their income in that period due to coronavirus disruptions will be eligible to access this funding, with no cap set on the number of farmers who can receive the support or on the total funding available.
The funding package will come as a relief to farms that supply processors feeding into the foodservice sector, including Freshways and Medina Dairy, which have been hardest hit by the closure of coffee shops and catering businesses.
The NFU has said that up to 2,000 dairy farmers are affected, which would put the upper limit on the cost of this package at about £20m.
The package builds on £1m of funding announced earlier this week from Defra, the AHDB and processors to launch a campaign to promote consumption of dairy products.
Environment secretary George Eustice said: “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.
“We’ve already relaxed competition laws so dairy farmers can work together through the toughest months, but recognise there is more to be done.
“That is why today we have kick-started a new campaign to boost milk consumption and have announced a further package of funding.”
There is currently no information on any separate measures by the Welsh and Scottish government to support their producers.