Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen today announced details of a €150million European Union aid scheme to incentivise farmers to voluntarily reduce their milk deliveries.
The Milk Production Reduction Aid is part of a €500million aid package, agreed at the Agri-Fish Council in July, designed to encourage farmers to reduce milk production to counter the over-supply situation and help restore prices. The EU is seeking to achieve a total reduction in milk deliveries of just over one million tonnes, compared with the same period last year.
Farmers will be compensated if they reduce their production in any one of four separate three-month periods between October 2016 and March 2017. The scheme is expected to start on 11 September 2016 when the legislation comes into operation. Applications for aid from Northern Ireland dairy farmers may be submitted to the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) who will administer the scheme on behalf of all UK regions. Applications for the first reduction period, running from October to December 2016, must be submitted to the RPA by 21 September 2016.
The Minister said: “The dairy sector in Northern Ireland has been experiencing a prolonged period of severely depressed prices and our local farmers have been particularly affected. I am pleased that our dairy farmers can now apply for EU aid to support a reduction in their milk deliveries to processors should they choose to do so.
“I would encourage dairy farmers to consider the detail of the scheme rules carefully and to ensure that they have the necessary supporting documentation readily to hand, should they decide to submit an application.”
Further information and details on how to apply are available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/
The remaining €350million of the July 2016 financial package is for EU Exceptional Adjustment Aid which has been allocated to Member States to spend on measures that foster the economic sustainability of farms and that contribute to market stabilisation. The UK aid envelope is around €30million.
Minister McIlveen added: “I am committed to supporting farmers in Northern Ireland at this difficult time and to helping build a strong, sustainable and resilient agri-food industry for the future. I have made the case for Northern Ireland to receive a significant share of the UK envelope of EU Exceptional Adjustment Aid. I am currently considering the options for how best to use our allocation and will make a further announcement about this aid at the earliest opportunity.”