NFU SCOTLAND has met with banking representatives to highlight the impact that this year’s bad weather has had on farms.
Based on the Union’s recent wet weather survey, which received 464 replies, half of those farmers who responded have already needed extra cash for their businesses and a similar number expect to have to take extra steps to improve their cash flow by the spring.
NFUS explained the problems being faced on all farm types. These include income lost due to unfinished harvest and mounting bills as stock are housed early. In return, the banks’ representatives outlined a number of options farmers can explore in order to help them get through this difficult spell.
NFU Scotland’s president, Nigel Miller, said: “There are very few businesses which, despite best efforts, have been sheltered from this year’s poor weather. Indeed the effects will continue to be felt for some time to come as producers have struggled to sow winter crops and to secure supplies of good quality and affordable feed for their stock this winter.
“The representatives we spoke to recommended farmers consider a number of actions if they are concerned about balancing the books this winter.
“Firstly, they suggested that if it looks like you’re going to need more money, get in touch with the bank as soon as possible. If the bank cannot lend the money, make sure you get a full explanation as to why this is the case: it may be that you need to provide more information. It is also worth remembering that, if your request is turned down, banks do operate an appeal mechanism.
“The bank representatives also recommended that it may be beneficial to farmers to investigate moving some of their core overdraft borrowing onto a term loan.
“At the Union, we shall continue to monitor the situation on members’ farms and whether farmers can gain access to lending when they need it most. We shall also continue to work closely with the Scottish Government to ensure that support payments such as SFP and LFASS, which are needed acutely this year, are paid out as soon as possible.
“We would urge any farmer who is struggling not to suffer in silence. NFUS members can draw on a great deal of support and advice from their fellow farmers and Union staff and should contact us directly if they need to.”