The new dairy exit scheme will ban farmers from leasing their land out to suckler farmers or other dairy farmers.

A consultation document sent to stakeholders sitting on the Food Vision dairy group in recent days sets out "nine principles to be considered”, which members of the group - including farm organisations - are to reply to with their submissions for the scheme.

Among the nine areas outlined is the legal commitment, whereby a dairy farmer could not lease their land to another farmer with breeding ruminants.

“Legally, the commitment would need to be linked to the herd and the holding, therefore a farmer could not opt for the scheme and remove all their breeding ruminants, then transfer the holding during the contract and for the transferee to start a breeding ruminant enterprise on that holding,” the document states.

It also states that “the farmer would be able to diversify into other areas of farming activity not involving breeding ruminants”, and that “conditions on land leasing will need to be considered”.

Contract period

Farm organisations are also being asked for their views on the length of the contract period for the scheme.

The document does not, however, give a suggestion as to how long the scheme could last.

The contract period will have to take account of ensuring a reduction in emissions over a period of time.

Payment per head

An annual payment per cow would be provided to farmers who take part in the scheme.

The members of the Food Vision dairy group are being asked for their opinions on this aspect of the scheme, along with any comments on how farmers who opt for a partial dairy herd reduction can be accommodated in the scheme.

Stakeholders on the group have until 5pm on Monday 31 July 2023 to respond to the consultation.