£8.5million fund for small dairy farmers

Applications opened this week (April 24) for an £8.5 million funding scheme to support small dairy farmers in England.

The Small Dairy Farmers Scheme will provide a one-off payment to active cows’ milk producers who produced up to 1,000,000 litres during the period April 1, 2015 to  March 31, 2016.

The scheme is for producers in England but cross-border farmer in Wales or Scotland can also apply if the majority of their land is based in England and they received their Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2016 payment from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

The rate of payment will be calculated once all applications are received and should be published on GOV.UK in mid-June. Payments will be capped at 500,000 litres of cows’ milk production and paid into claimants’ bank accounts by the end of July. Farmers must be registered on Rural Payments before RPA can make a payment.

Farmers looking to apply should fill in a Small Dairy Farmers Scheme application form at GOV.UK and send it to the RPA along with the proof before midnight on  May 31, 2017.

“The RPA will need proof showing your total cows’ milk deliveries to first purchasers during the period April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016,” explained Edward Tyler, a consultant with Berrys at Shrewsbury.

“Proof could be a copy of your annual production statement or individual monthly production statements. If you sold cows’ milk or milk products directly, you will be asked to provide proof of the total volume of cows’ milk produced during that period, either for sale directly to the public or used to make products for sale directly to the public.

“Direct sellers will also need to send a copy of their Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) levy invoice. Additional proof could be production records, sales invoice/sales records, milk/milk product stock records.

“You will also need proof that you were still active in cows’ milk production in April 2017,” he added.