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Banks Hear of Wet Weather Impacts

NFU Scotland has met with representatives of Scotland’s banks to highlight the impact that this year’s exceptional weather has had on farm businesses throughout Scotland.
 
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.  For them, affordable access to credit was deemed to be useful or very useful to their businesses.

NFUS also explained in full to bank staff the problems being faced on all farm types. These include income lost due to unfinished harvest and mounting bills as stock are housed early. At the meeting, which took place last week, 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, who represented the Union at the talks 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.
 
"We regularly meet banking representatives to discuss issues raised by our members, but the message at this latest meeting was particularly urgent.

“Nearly half the members we surveyed reported some kind of financial impact on their business due to the weather, and we were at pains to impress upon the banks the need to identify ways of working with farmers to help them get through this difficult time.

“The representatives we spoke to stressed that they have confidence in the industry, which continues to be a comparatively safe haven amid wider economic turbulence. They 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.   As a reminder, you could consider using the Whole Farm Review process to help firm up your business plan.

“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.
 
"In the meantime, we would urge any farmer that 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."

Notes to Editors

  • NFU Scotland met with the Committee of Scottish Bankers on Wednesday, 21 November.  Those in attendance included Bank of Scotland  (Sandy Hay); Clydesdale Bank (James O’Mahoney); Lloyds TSB Scotland (Prof. Donald MacRae); Royal Bank of Scotland (Craig Dickson and Andy Kilgour).
  • The news release on NFU Scotland’s wet weather survey is available here: http://www.nfus.org.uk/news/2012/november/wet-weather-survey-seeks-short-term-help

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 138/12


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