'Remember we are contractors, not bankers
"Contractor debt is not measured in the same way as bank or other supplier debt. For this reason it is not considered visible within official circles, but it is hugely visible to us as contractors" says FCI national chair Richard White.
"For many contractors, there is no interest applied to this debt, some of which is now more than 12 months old. We are concerned at the increase in the level of contractor debt on farms, especially as 2017 milk output has been at its highest level ever and milk prices have stabilised.
"Our members are funding fuel and labour costs from modest cash flows, but the rising debt is putting additional pressure in contractor operations," he says.
"I would urge contractors to set up monthly direct debit systems to suit an agreed timeframe with their farmer customers.
"We are seeking support from banks to enable these payment systems to be put in place to ensure the viability of the land-based contractors who can longer act as interest-free banks.
"Remember, we are contractors not bankers," Mr White concluded.