Rising concerns over farmers’ loans which have been sold off to private equity firms

There are rising concerns over farmers’ loans which have been sold off to private equity firms, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

The huge increase of High Court actions brought by private equity firms in the last year is cause for concern, the ICSA’s Rural Development Chairman, Seamus Sherlock, said.

Speaking on the matter, Sherlock said: “Figures reveal that there has been a tenfold increase in cases initiated in the High Court since the latter part of 2016. This can only be described as a blitz on those whose loans have been sold off.

“However, the ICSA would hope that loans involving agricultural assets can best be solved by a process of dialogue and a sensible understanding that farm loans can be worked out.

Keeping a farm as a going concern is almost always the best solution.

The farm organistion understands that the majority of cases involve applications for summary judgements against debtors, whereby assets belonging to the borrower can then be pursued to clear the debt.

This massive ramping up of High Court activity is creating a climate of fear, the ICSA’s Rural Development Chairman added.

“The ICSA has been at the forefront of helping farmers who have found themselves trying to deal with private equity firms and I would like to reassure these farmers that the ICSA will continue to stand with any farmer making a genuine effort to meet his or her commitments.

“We cannot as a farming organisation stand idly by and allow farming families to be treated unfairly. The ICSA is willing to work with both sides to find reasonable solutions,” Sherlock concluded.