According to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, payments to some 3,500 farmers will issue from Tuesday 28 March. Initially, 4,500 farmers had applied to the milk reduction scheme, but according to the Department, 1,000 farmers opted not to follow through with reducing their milk supply.

The average per-farmer payment is €1,850.

“I am pleased to announce that my Department has commenced payments under Phase 1 of this scheme, which will see almost €6.5m paid out to 3,500 Irish dairy farmers who applied for aid to reduce their production in the last quarter of 2016. This will provide a significant cashflow boost to dairy farmers at an important time of year. I would like to acknowledge the initiative of Commissioner Hogan in coming forward with the scheme as part of their response to dairy market volatility last year,” Minister Creed said.

Market correction

Farmers who signed up to the scheme and followed through on the requirements of the scheme received 14c/kg (14.1c/litre) for every kg or litre of milk reduced between October and December in 2016.

The scheme was introduced by the European Commission last year in an attempt to reduce milk supply across Europe to curb milk production growth. There was a total budget of €150m for all of Europe to reduce milk supply.

Payments under the second phase of the scheme will be issued by the end of April. To be accepted into the second phase of the scheme, farmers had to reduce their output between November 2016 and January 2017.

According to the Department, the second phase was oversubscribed.

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