Lakeland hosts Milkflex workshops for suppliers

Lakeland Dairies has hosted a series of workshops at four locations to provide milk suppliers with information on the new MilkFlex scheme being provided by Finance Ireland.

Workshops took place in Cavan, Kells, Castleblayney, and Mullingar over the last week.

MilkFlex is designed to provide milk suppliers with a loan product that helps to protect cash flows from the impacts of price volatility.

It is managed by financial services provider Finance Ireland with funding from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and Rabobank.

The MilkFlex product has built-in ‘flex triggers’ whereby a farmer can adjust their loan repayment terms in response to volatile movements in milk price or disease outbreak, which could typically put farm finances under pressure.

Repayments can also be adjusted to allow for seasonality in milk production. Farmers must be in a registered milk supply agreement with a dairy co-operative.

The scheme applies in the Republic of Ireland.

Qualifying on-farm expenditure for which MilkFlex loans can be offered by Finance Ireland include:
  •  Investment in productive dairy farm assets;
  • Farm infrastructure (milking parlours, animal housing, farm roadways, etc);
  • Dairy livestock purchases;
  • Any work related to environmental schemes, low emissions slurry equipment (TAMS-funded and non-TAMS-funded) etc;
  • Grassland or land improvement – including reseeding and drainage works;
  • Technological improvements, e.g. milking robots, monitoring equipment etc;
  • Refinancing of any loan, cash or cashflow used on dairy farm projects, which commenced on or after March 1, 2014;
  • Working capital for dairy farming.

Lakeland Dairies’ chairman Alo Duffy said: “Promoting ongoing sustainability in milk production and in processing is essential to ensure a positive future in dairying.

Conor Boyle, general manager of MilkFlex, Finance Ireland, speaking at the launch of the Lakeland Dairies MilkFlex scheme at the Kilmore Hotel, Cavan.

“Mechanisms like MilkFlex provide an optional means of finance on a more affordable basis, in terms of the interest rates and flexibility that are involved, and this can help milk producers to reduce the impacts of market volatility on a longer-term basis.”