Vulture funds upping the ante on farm debts

Vulture funds protest
Vulture funds protest
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

There has been a large rise in the number of judgements being sought by vulture funds on farm-related debt an agri finance specialist has warned.

 "We've seen a huge increase in judgments being sought, receivers being appointed,  and bankruptcy proceedings  being brought in relation to farms and farm debt,"  Gary Digney told  an ICMSA seminar on vulture funds  last week.

"In many cases, farmers simply want to repay their debts and just need time and an agreement with their lender," said Mr Digney, a director of PKF-FPM Accountants.

"Over the last number of years, it has proven impossible to reach agreements with banks - often due to not being able to speak to someone with the authority to reach an agreement - and now it is proving even more impossible to deal with investment funds or 'vulture funds'." 

However, he said that farmers can opt for a Personal Insolvency Arrangement (PIA) if they are in dispute with a vulture fund. "A PIA can fix a farm loan and move it back to a performing 20- or 30-year loan and allow  the farmer repay the debts without the threat of losing their farm," Mr Digney said. 

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