Young farmers are optimistic about the future and ready to face the challenges and opportunities ahead, according to a report published today by Ulster Bank.

Focus group sessions founded the basis of the report and found that farmers are optimistic about arising from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform and Food Harvest 2020. Maximising efficiency and profitability is a common goal of young farmers and most say they need to invest and expand to take advantage of future opportunities. They concluded the biggest challenge is successfully managing cashflow through a period of change.

Farmers also recognised that they often need support when it comes to financial management, in terms of preparing farm plans and cashflow budgets. Another key area that was identified by participants was appetite for insight into best practice into communications between farmers and banks to ensure they demonstrated their depth of knowledge, skills and management capabilities to their bank manager.

The report captures the personal experiences of young farmers expanding their farm business from a farming, banking and advisory perspective. Ulster Bank commissioned the report to better understand the needs of young trained farmers to ensure they have the products and services to match their ambition.

Dr. Ailish Byrne, Senior Agricultural Manager at Ulster Bank said: “If you are under 40, have recently started a farming career or are about to embark on a career in farming, Ulster Bank is committed to helping you make the most of the opportunities in the farming sector in Ireland. The reform of the CAP and Food Harvest 2020 give young farmers a golden opportunity to expand their businesses and innovate. That’s why we have created a specially designed Young Farmers Package to help farmers support their ambition.”

Ulster Bank has a team of agri-specialists based in agricultural communities across Ireland, who are financial experts, are active farmers or come from a farming background. They provide on the ground expertise and support to help farmers make a success of their business.

Ailish Byrne continued:“Ulster Bank has the people, support and products to partner with farmers through the early stages of their farming career and onto the growth and expansion stages. We are ready to work with young farmers and are committed to the future of farming in Ireland.”

Ulster Bank’s young farmer package includes a range of benefits including access to an unsecured loan of up to €30,000 for business development purposes. Applicants must be aged under 40, hold an agricultural qualification and have a prepared business plan (Over 18s only, terms and conditions apply).