Details of EU Milk Reduction Scheme for North’s farmers revealed

Farmers in Northern Ireland who plan of availing of the EU’s Voluntary Milk Reduction Scheme have until September 21 to apply to the scheme, Michelle McIlveen, the North’s Minister for Agriculture has said.

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.

Producers from Northern Ireland who supply to co-operatives/purchasers in the Republic of Ireland are entitled to avail of the scheme. They should apply in the normal way to the Rural Payments Agency.

The farmer will need to provide the relevant proof regarding milk supply from their purchaser, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has advised.

Applications for the first reduction period, running from October to December 2016, must be submitted to the RPA by September 21, 2016.

Farmers in the North will receive around the equivalent to around 12p/L for every litre of milk they reduce production by.

Farmers can apply to reduce their production in any one of four separate three-month periods (tranches) between October 2016 and March 2017.

Only one application may be submitted per farmer, however there is an exception for those who apply to tranche one; they may also apply to tranche four.

Only dairy farmers who were delivering cow milk to first purchasers in July 2016 are eligible to apply for aid.

If applications for the first three-month tranche (October to December 2016) exceed the total volume (1.1m tonnes), the Commission will apply a reduction co-efficient to the applications: farmers will then be notified of their confirmed reduction quantity.

Tranches two-four (November 16 to January 17; December 16 to February 17; and January 17 to March 17) will only proceed if there is sufficient volume still available.

Farmers will not receive any additional money if their reduction exceeds the quantity specified in the approved application. Conversely, if farmers fail to achieve all of their specified reduction a sliding-scale of reductions to the aid payment will be applied.

Following the first tranche, farmers’ applications for payment must be submitted by February 14, 2017.

Following the necessary verification checks on the amount of reduction delivered, the first payments must be made by end March 2017, with the last date for all payments being 30 September 2017.

Minister McIlveen is encouraging Northern Ireland farmers to take advantage of the scheme.

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.”

Under the EU Exceptional Adjustment Aid package, the UK has received around €30m and Minister McIlveen has said she has made the case for Northern Ireland to receive a significant share of the UK envelope.

“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,” she said.