McCormack announces new loan program; set to benefit Central West farmers

New Agristarter loans for Central West farmers

A loan program designed to support the next generation of farmers has now opened for applications, Deputy Prime Minister and Member for Riverina Michael McCormack has announced.

"The AgriStarter Loan Program, managed by the Regional Investment Corporation, encourages new entrants to farming and can assist with succession arrangements," Mr McCormack said.

The Australian Government has provided an additional $75 million in 2020-21 for the AgriStarter Loan Program to assist new entrants to farming looking to purchase, establish or develop their first farm business and to support farming succession arrangements.

Individual loans of up to $2 million can be used for a range of purposes, including purchasing a farm business and other farm business assets, as well as putting it toward costs associated with the succession planning process.

"Having grown up on a farm and having members of my family still involved in farming I know how important it is to encourage the younger generations to get involved in farming or stay in the industry through succession planning," Mr McCormack said.

"The AgriStarter Loan Program will support these important objectives."

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The loan program has been an important initiative to help farmers and small businesses get through the hard times, while also supporting new farming enterprises to get off the ground. The RIC's current variable concessional interest rate is a record low at 1.92 per cent.

The initial loan term would be 10 years, with interest-only repayments for the first five years and principal and interest repayments for the final five years.

Requirements for AgriStarter program:

  • New entrants, farm businesses or successors can use the AgriStarter loan for relevant purposes including funding the purchase, establishment or development of a person's first farm business, paying costs associated with the succession planning process or buying out relatives during farm business succession.
  • In addition to meeting the RIC's eligibility requirements, AgriStarter loan applicants will need to hold or obtain a loan on commercial terms, demonstrate relevant experience, provide sufficient security for the loan and be in need of a concessional loan.

Mr McCormack has also welcomed New Year's tariff cuts which build on huge benefits Free Trade Agreements have already delivered for Australia's agricultural, food and fisheries exporters.

"Significant tariff cuts and improved market access on a range of commodities traded across the Americas and Asia took effect at the start of 2021," Mr McCormack said.

"The cuts deliver a huge opportunity for Riverina and Central West primary producers."

Tariffs on lamb and beef to Korea and some wine products and barley to Mexico will all fall in 2021, while exporters to Peru will benefit from tariff cuts on beef and sparkling wine as well as increased quotas for rise, dairy, sugar and sorghum.

"Australian primary producers, including those in the Riverina and Central West, produce the best food and fibre in the world and the Government is opening up more markets around the world and delivering opportunities for our farmers to prosper."

In further good news for Parkes region farmers who are looking to improve their agricultural business, NSWFarmers have announced funded drone training (no cost to participants) for the Parkes/Forbes branch through training provider Tocal College.

Funded training is available to members and non-members, as long as you are in the grains, cotton, horticulture or viticulture industries and are over 15 years old.