Farmers Say Coronavirus Will 'Disrupt' Dairy Sector: Ask For Government Handout

'Failure to protect farmers could result in disruption to the wider dairy and agricultural industry'
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Dairy calves in hutches on a UK farm

Demand for dairy has plunged as restaurants and cafes have shut (Photo: Animal Equality)

UK Dairy farmers have asked the government for help as the coronavirus lockdown hits milk demand hard - saying that without help, the sector faces 'disruption'.

According to reports, some dairy farmers are pouring milk away, as foodservice demand (including from cafes and restaurants) has plunged in recent weeks.

Financial support

Now the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) wants the government to support dairy farmers affected by the coronavirus pandemic, asking it to help fund a short-term financial support initiative.

According to the RABDF, the scheme aims to reimburse dairy farmers up to their standard milk price with the hope farmers will be paid directly from the government in their monthly milk cheque, rather than via their processor. 

'Disruption to dairy'

RABDF Chairman Peter Alvis warned that failure to protect those farmers could result in disruption to the wider dairy and agricultural industry along with an undersupplied market later in the year.

"This scheme will ensure both short-term and longer-term food security and ease the stress on the industry," he said in a statement. "Removing the excess distressed milk from the market place will help to stabilize the current spot price without causing long-term market distortion.

"It will also allow those affected dairy farmers to continue to pay for invoices for farm inputs to the wider local/rural supply industry beyond the farmgate and will prevent extra cows being culled which will exacerbate the problems in the beef supply chain."

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