What is the Agri Cashflow Support Loan Scheme and how can I apply?

Update: 2nd March 2017 – Bank of Ireland can only accept loans on a provisional basis as it has exhausted its allocation of the funds.

The Agri Cashflow Support Loan Scheme was announced in Budget 2017 to ease cashflow pressures at farm level.

The scheme, under which €150m is available to farmers at interest rates of 2.95%, was developed to support those experiencing short-term financial pressure due to price and income volatility.

The loans were designed to enable farmers to plan and budget more effectively by providing an attractive cashflow support loan product.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed launched the scheme in January when he said:

“This innovative loan Scheme will provide farmers with a low cost, flexible source of working capital and will allow them to pay down more expensive forms of short-term debt, ensuring the ongoing financial sustainability of viable farming enterprises.”

Key loan features – How much can I apply for?

The Agri Cashflow Support Loan Scheme has a total budget of €150m and was developed by the Department of Agriculture and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI).

The Department provided €25m of funding, including €11m in EU exceptional adjustment aid and €14m in state funding, to the low-cost loan scheme fund.

The Department’s contribution provided leverage to make the €150m scheme available to farmers, thus allowing them access to unsecured loans up to a maximum of €150,000.

These loans are available for a minimum of one year up to a maximum of six years and optional interest only repayments are available at the start of the loan period.

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What can the loans be used for?

Under the Scheme, there are a number of stipulations for which the funds can or cannot be used.

Loans can be used for:
  • Future working capital requirements (e.g. feed, fertiliser, trading stock, tax and other costs)
  • An alternative to merchant credit
  • Replenishing working capital used on farm to support capital expenditure (prior to Dec, 31, 2016)
  • To refinance existing farm creditors or a portion of existing working capital

Loans cannot be used for:
  • Refinance of undertakings in financial difficulties
  • Refinance of existing term debt (e.g. Terms loans/Leases/Hire Purchase etc.)
  • New Investment

Am I eligible to apply?

The loans will be available to all livestock farmers, tillage farmers, horticulture producers and others involved in primary agricultural production who meet certain criteria.

Farmers operating in the forestry and equine sectors as part of a mixed farming enterprise are eligible to apply for the loan provided it is not used to support the forestry or equine part of the business.

However, forestry and equine, when operated as a sole enterprise, along with aquaculture enterprises are not eligible for funding under the Agri Cashflow Support Loan Scheme.

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How do I apply?

The scheme will operate from January 2017 to September 15, 2017 or until the loan scheme has been fully subscribed.

If you are interested in applying for the Agri Cashflow Support Loan Scheme you can apply directly by calling Bank of Ireland on 1890 365222.

You can also call into your local Branch or Business Centre, where you will be provided with further information, where staff can assist with your application or to arrange a meeting with your Business Adviser at the branch. The Agri Cashflow Support Loan Application form is available here