Dairy farmers draw down majority of low interest loan fund
Data released by the Department of Agriculture show that dairy farmers drew down 42pc of funds under the Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme.
The Scheme, which totalled €150m in available funds to farmers at 2.95pc, has been fully subscribed and €60.2m has been drawn down to date.
Run in co-operation with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and distributed and administered through AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank, the Scheme was designed to provide farmers with a low cost, flexible source of working capital, allowing them to pay down more expensive forms of short-term debt, ensuring the ongoing financial sustainability of viable farming enterprises.
The average loan size is €32,000, with more than half the loans being advanced for terms of four years or more.
Some 42pc of loan value has been to dairy enterprises with the average dairy farmer who availed of the scheme drawing down €36,892. Some 41pc of the funds are being taken up by beef farmers, with the average loan size of €27,609.
Dairy farmers account for 693 of the 1,859 loans drawn down to date, while beef farmers account for 887.
Just seven loans to pig farmers have been approved and drawn down to date, but the average loan size is €80,000, while six loans to farmers in horticulture have been approved - with the average loan being €106,417.
The Minister said that there was a very positive reaction by farmers to the Scheme, which has proved that significant demand exists for low cost flexible finance.