FARMERS in New South Wales going through tough times can now apply for help as part of a new $20 million assistance package.
This means farmers across the Northern Rivers who are experiencing hardship and running an are eligible farm businesses can apply for one of three categories: drought assistance, dairy recovery and business improvement and loan amounts are up to a maximum of $1 million.
Those who meet the requirements can apply for finance as part of the 2017-18 Farm Business Concessional Loans Scheme in New South Wales, which comprises an initial $20 million available as part of a $250 million program delivering concessional loans for eligible farm businesses nationally from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018.
So far, as of May 31 this year, more than 1300 farm business have been approved for a total of $709 million in concessional loans .
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said this was part of the government's $250 million commitment.
"Concessional loans will continue to be available to assist farmers across NSW to rebuild their businesses following drought and farm gate milk price cuts,” he said.
"For 2017-18, the Farm Business Concessional Loans Scheme will also be extended to eligible Farm Household Allowance recipients who have exhausted their 1,095-day entitlement (as) these Business Improvement Concessional Loans recognise that some farmers may need further assistance to achieve their farm business plans.”
Mr Joyce said the loans have an initial variable concessional interest rate of 2.47% for a maximum term of 10 years.
He said interest-only repayments are available for the first five years of the loan term, with principal and interest repayments for the next five years.
NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair, welcomed the additional $20 million in funding to assist NSW farmers.
"The additional funding supports our important dairy industry and helps farmers better prepare for the range of issues that come with drought,” Mr Blair said
"We know our farmers face some harsh conditions each year and while we can't make it rain, we do hope these loans provide some support during those difficult times.”
Mr Blair said farmers contribute about $62.8 billion to our nation's economy and stronger farm businesses mean a stronger economy.
The scheme is expected to be open in other jurisdictions shortly.
For more information regarding concessional loans visit agriculture.gov.au/loans
Farmers looking for financial advice can also contact The NSW Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS), a free and confidential service which provides information and assistance on financial position, budgets and submitting applications.
Remember 2017 Farm Safety Week is July 17-21, visit www.farmsafe.org.au/Farm-Safety-Week
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