Bute’s hard-pressed dairy farmers are to receive a further £30,000 in government support for the next six months.
The money will be used to will be used to cover the cost of milk tankers returning empty on ferries to Bute from the mainland, and follows an allocation of £60,000 for the same purpose in May 2015.
Payments will be made monthly to First Milk, the co-operative of which all Bute dairy farmers are members, and will be paid out every month by the company to each farm.
Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell said: “This is very welcome news at a time of great difficulty for the dairy industry across Scotland.
“The additional costs that Bute dairy farmers have to meet because of the need to transport their milk on the ferry makes their problems even greater so the willingness of the Scottish Government to provide this help, even though it has been difficult to arrange because of State Aids rules, is to be commended.
“I am grateful to Richard Lochhead for his commitment to the dairy industry in Argyll and Bute and I continue to discuss with him the way in which dairy farmers in Kintyre and Gigha as well as Bute can be sustained through the current downturn in the market which has been exacerbated by the problems of First Milk, the co-operative to which all Argyll dairy farmers belong.”
The current basic price paid to Bute farmers for their milk is 17.3 pence per litre (relevant for member payments to bank this month).