A package of Welsh Assembly Government measures to help the Welsh dairy industry received the firm support of the Farmers’ Union of Wales today.

Rural affairs minister Elin Jones announced that following the recent collapse of Dairy Farmers of Britain (DFoB) she could exercise some exceptional measures of flexibility within EU rules.

As a result, Welsh dairy producers who did not receive payment for milk supplied to DFoB in May and meet the conditions of the CAP Single Payment Scheme will, from October 16, receive a 70% advance on the payment they would normally be paid from December.

"During a recent meeting with Elin Jones we agreed that such an advance payment should be made in order to help those who did not receive payment for their milk following the collapse of DFB, and we are very glad she has taken the matter forward in this way," said FUW’s milk and dairy produce committee chairman Eifion Huws.

Ms Jones also announced the Assembly had joined forces with DairyCo - the national levy board for the dairy industry - to jointly fund a new high-level co-ordinator post to work on behalf of dairy farmers in Wales.

The post, to be advertised nationally shortly, will ensure that in future Welsh dairy farmers receive a range of complementary support, assistance and strategic direction.

"The minister’s decision to work with DairyCo and appoint a head of dairy development for Wales is a helpful measure at a crucial time for the sector," Mr Huws added.

Ms Jones said the 70 per cent advance of the full 2009 Single Payment could only be made once all validation checks have been successfully completed.