The Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) has chosen to support Cultivate, a provider of short- to medium-term loan opportunities for credit union farming members, as the national farm finance brand for Ireland’s credit union sector.

Cultivate, which holds former Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) president Joe Healy as its chair and non-executive director, provides unsecured lending of up to €75,000 to farmers across the country.

Cultivate loans are used by farmers to develop farm buildings, invest in livestock, working capital and for the purchase of tractors and machinery.

These loans are currently available from over 120 credit union offices and the number of outlets is growing all the time, according to Healy.

It is understood the move by the ILCU ahead of its AGM and conference in Belfast this weekend will support this growth, enabling Cultivate to expand into more credit union branches.

Cultivate brand

According to ILCU president Helene McManus, most of the 120 credit unions already offering Cultivate loans are members of the ILCU.

She said: “We encourage any ILCU-affiliated credit union that wishes to enter the agri-lending market to do so as part of the Cultivate brand.

“Cultivate has established a strong brand identity in Irish farming in the past few years.

"What began as a pioneering local initiative by four Galway credit unions just five years ago is now widely available across the country. The ILCU supports Cultivate as the agri brand of Irish credit unions.”

Cultivate chair Joe Healy said: “Cultivate is delighted to have received the support of the ILCU. This support is a massive boost to us as we seek to achieve our ambition of making Cultivate available to every farmer in the country.

“As the largest representative body of Irish credit unions, the ILCU is a key stakeholder and a key voice in the credit union sector.

"Cultivate’s success has been built on a collaborative platform through engagement with all the key agri stakeholders, including farmer representative bodies (in particular the IFA), agricultural advisers and training bodies (in particular Teagasc), agri businesses and merchants, accountants, marts and so on.”

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