The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland has announced details of payments for small dairy farmers in Northern Ireland, under the EU Exceptional Adjustment Aid (EAA) package.
A Departmental spokesperson said: “£1.6m is being set aside to fund the Small Dairy Farmer scheme in Northern Ireland. The rate of payment is 0.2 pence per litre. This means that eligible farmers will receive an average payment of around £750. Payment is capped at 500,000 litres of production.”
The Small Dairy Farmer scheme, launched in May 2017, is the fourth element of the NI EAA package. The scheme will help maximise spend against NI’s £4.1m allocation of EAA funding for the benefit of livestock farmers here. It closed for applications on 31 May 2017.
The Rural Payments Agency is administering the scheme on DAERA’s behalf and payments to eligible dairy farmers are expected to be made by 19 September 2017.
Responding to DAERA’s announcement Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) president Barclay Bell said, “We acknowledge that these payments are being made and any funding to farming is welcome. However, as we stated back in May when the DAERA decision to implement a scheme for small dairy farmers was announced, we were not consulted on how best to allocate the under spend from this EU emergency funding. If we had been given the opportunity we would have encouraged DAERA to target it more strategically. From the outset, we pushed for schemes that would deliver long term benefits across the industry, such as the BVD scheme, pig health, and soils sampling and it is good to see that these have been implemented. The Union does, however, recognise that the funds have to be spent by 30th September and we would rather see the funding utilised rather than risk it being lost.”