UPDATE 1-Denmark to compensate mink farmers with up to $3.1 bln after nationwide cull

(Adds detail about deal)

COPENHAGEN, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Denmark, the top exporter of mink furs, will compensate its mink farmers with up to 19 billion Danish crowns ($3.1 billion) following an order last year to cull the country’s entire population.

Denmark’s entire herd of some 17 million mink, one of the world’s biggest and highly valued for the quality of its fur, was ordered to be culled in early November after hundreds of farms suffered outbreaks of coronavirus and authorities found mutated strains of the virus among people.

Lawmakers on Monday agreed a deal that includes compensation to the farmers for idle machinery and lost revenue until 2030, the country’s finance ministry said in a statement.

Denmark was the top exporter of mink to luxury fashion labels, with its pelts in high demand due to high breeding standards.

The move to cull Denmark’s entire mink population left the government reeling, and prompted its agriculture minister to step down after it admitted it did not have the legal basis to order the culling of healthy mink.

Monday’s deal also allows farmers to begin breeding mink when a temporary ban ends next year. ($1 = 6.1286 Danish crowns) (Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Leslie Adler and Marguerita Choy)