Call for farming bodies to monitor the banks
Farming organisations should identify banks that are dealing reasonably with farmers in financial difficulty, an independent financial adviser has said.
Agricultural consultant Philip Maher, who specialises in financial matters, told a farmers' conference in the Lismullin Institute, Co Meath, that banks had lost the moral high ground and needed to take a long-term view when dealing with farmer debt.
"Generally, banks will work with farmers to find optimum solutions," Mr Maher said.
"I think it's the job of the farm organisations to show where these banks are and what they are doing."
Mr Maher said that, despite the difficulties facing some of the 40pc of farmers who had high borrowings, farming was still in a strong financial position.
"That leaves us with about 48,000 who did borrow. If this was 10,000 it would be the equivalent of the numbers that were in trouble in the 1980s," he said.
He estimated that, with combined borrowings of €12bn, farmers had a net worth of €95bn and still owned 82.5pc of their assets.