Coronavirus: Agriculture and horticulture support schemes

News article

Financial support schemes for the dairy, beef and sheep, potato, and ornamental horticulture sectors

Some agricultural and horticultural businesses have incurred financial loss as a result of short term market disturbance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Northern Ireland Executive agreed a support package of £25 million to help alleviate this emerging threat to NI farm incomes on 19 May 2020. The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), in consultation with industry representatives and stakeholders, has examined the nature and extent of the financial loss that has been incurred. There was a clear acceptance of the need for support to be targeted at those farm businesses hardest hit financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs announced on 30 June 2020 the sectors that will be eligible for funding from the support package. The sectors to be supported were dairy, beef, sheep, potato and ornamental horticulture. Schemes have been developed to distribute the funding and are targeted towards providing support to those most in need, are evidence-based and will be distributed on an equitable basis. Support is not based on location or on entire sectors.

£21.4 million of the £25 million was allocated as shown (indicative figures):

  • Dairy Sector - £11 million (80 per cent losses covered)
  • Beef Sector - £7 million (100 per cent losses covered)
  • Sheep Sector - £232,000 (100 per cent losses covered)
  • Potato Sector - up to £1.6 million (80 per cent losses covered)
  • Ornamental Horticulture Sector - up to £1.6 million (80 per cent losses covered)

Since other support measures were available to agricultural and horticultural businesses, rates of compensation for losses incurred were set at 100 per cent to 80 per cent, depending on the nature of the business and other support already available.

The remaining £3.6 million (from the £25 million agreed by the Executive) plus a further £3.6 million from within DAERA’s existing budget will be held in reserve to address additional issues and challenges that COVID-19 may present in the future.

Eligible businesses can make an application for the schemes here:

Find more information on the overall support package on the DAERA website.


First published 18 September 2020