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Credit facilities worsen for a third

Credit facilities have worsened for ICMSA members according to the survey. While 7pc of farmers reported that their credit facilities with their banks had actually improved over the past two to three years, four times this number said that it had worsened.

This was particularly the case with younger farmers, part-time operators and smaller farmers.

While 25pc of farmers with more than 150ac said that their credit facilities had worsened, 36pc of farmers with up to 75ac reported the same problem.

In the past the ICMSA has suggested that Irish farmers should move their business to foreign-owned banks in order to secure better rates and access to capital.

However, the survey results indicate that, despite the significant difficulties accessing credit, Irish farmers are generally wary of looking further afield for better credit terms and facilities.

A slim majority (54pc) favoured continuing to offer their custom to Irish-owned banks. This loyalty to domestic banks differed regionally, with 11pc more farmers in Munster expressing a wish to back Irish banks over foreign alternatives when compared with Leinster based farmers.

And despite being the hardest hit in terms of curtailed credit facilities, smaller farmers with less than 75ac were much more supportive of the Irish banks.

Only one in three farmers in this group favoured looking further afield for banking services, compared to every second farmer with more than 150ac.

The ICMSA had progressed talks with Dutch-owned Rabobank over recent months to the point where a special package of terms for its members had become a distinct possibility.

However, these results may force the farm group to reconsider the appetite among farmers for such an initiative.

Darragh McCullough

Indo Farming