Scottish milk producers are at risk of missing out on European support funds if they don’t apply for a dairy aid scheme before the end of April.
An EU crisis fund of £2.4million is available to Scotland’s 900 dairy farmers. However to date only 20% of producers have applied for payments which range between £1,000 and £4.000.
The money is Scotland’s share of the EU’s £350million dairy market stabilisation scheme which was launched last year. It is linked to improving efficiency, so producers who apply are required to commit to simple production profiling and milk recording in order to qualify. An estimated two-thirds of Scottish dairy herds already milk record on a regular basis.
Under the terms of the Scottish scheme, the highest payment rate of £4,000 is available to farmers on Bute, Arran, Mull, and the Kintyre peninsula to protect the supply base for the Campbeltown creamery.
Farmers who were paid a milk price of less than 20p per litre during 2016 can receive £3,250; farmers who were receiving under 25p could get £2,000 each, while those farmers who received 25p per litre or more can receive £1,000.
NFU Scotland’s (NFUS) milk policy manager, George Jamieson, urged producers to “crack on” with applying for the money before May 1.
He said: “Scottish dairy farmers cannot afford to miss out on the financial support currently available to them through this scheme. With feed and fertiliser prices rising, and milk prices levelling off, this is money that will be welcome to all.”
Mr Jamieson pointed out that this money was the second stage of the EU’s attempt the stabilise the dairy market. .
“To secure those funds, Europe has insisted that producers commit to actions that will help them cope with future market volatility,” he said.
“The Scottish Government, in consultation with industry stakeholders including NFUS has agreed that simple production profiling and milk recording are appropriate. These both offer opportunities to manage, with more certainty, milk production in line with market needs, and create a vast amount of data that will be useful to the individual farmer and the sector.”
Mr Jamieson urged all producers to get a copy of the application form, read the guidance and apply for the funding.
An application form can be downloaded electronically or requested from local SGRPID offices. Guidance on the scheme is also available from the Scottish Dairy Hub.