24 October 2000
Dairy stragglers may lose out on cash
By Donald MacPhail
MORE than 2,000 dairy farmers have not yet got round to claiming an average of 1,250 agrimoney compensation awaiting each of them.
This is despite the industry being in the middle of a crisis which has seen milk prices fall to their lowest in real terms in 30 years.
The National Farmers Union is urging laggards to get complete forms in by the October 31 deadline or risk losing money they are entitled to.
NFU milk and dairy produce committee chairman Terrig Morgan said: “Dairy farmers are entitled to this money and we are very concerned that some have not come forward to claim it.”
Some 27,000 dairy farmers have submitted claims their share of 22 million EU agrimoney compensation to compensate for the strength of the pound.
But the Intervention Board has reported that more than 2,000 of the eligible 29,000 farmers have not yet returned their forms.
The amount awaiting them is 2.5m — an average figure of 1,250 each.
Dairy agrimoney was part of a 188 million aid package for farmers announced by Tony Blair at the Downing Street summit with industry leaders.
But the NFU insists it is not embarrassed by the tardy resonse from some farmers after its efforts to secure the cash.
NFU chief dairy advisor Phil Hudson said the vast majority of eligible producers had submitted claims and only a few stragglers were still outstanding.
They may have been concentrating on their business and could have put the forms behind the clock, he suggested.
Mr Morgan added: With the situation so dire in the industry at the moment, every penny counts.”
Earlier in the year dairy farmers blockaded dairies and spilled milk in protest at farmgate prices which had fallen to 16ppl from 25ppl four years ago.