John Finucane is a dairy farmer from Askeaton, County Limerick who wanted to develop his farm. When he went looking for finance, he realised that outside of the traditional financing methods, there are more suitable options available including the Cultivate loan that is offered by participating Credit Unions.

Cultivate is an initiative created by a group of 26 Credit Unions to provide short to medium term loan finance built specifically around the growing needs of Irish farmers. Cultivate is a specialised loan for farmers seeking unsecured funding up to €50,000 over seven years.

As a full-time dairy farmer John Finucane was keen to expand his farm. He decided to put in a new bulk tank to take the extra milk from his increased herd size and extend the cubicle shed for the additional capacity. To support these activities, John turned to his local Credit Union and availed of their Cultivate loan. The application process for John worked really well; in his own words “I found working with Cultivate very easy. No stress involved in it whatsoever”. Equally as important for John was the flexibility in repaying the loan in a way that suited him: “They suited the way I wanted to repay it over the summer months … no problem drawing down the money or anything”. Once John was approved for the loan, he installed the bulk tank straight away and he is now in the process of putting in the extra cubicles. These changes are making his work on the farm much more manageable. In short for John, “the Cultivate loan has made life much easier”.

As a farmer-friendly finance option, loan repayment schedules are available up to a period of seven years, with flexibility to repay at times that make sense for the individual farmer. Cultivate loans are unsecured, and there is no need to be an existing Credit Union member to avail of a loan. Farmers can sign up in their local participating Credit Union office and be eligible to apply for a Cultivate loan immediately.

Cultivate loans are used by farmers like John Finucane for a wide range of investments including:

  • Purchasing new or second-hand machinery.
  • Upgrading farm buildings and facilities.
  • Undertaking farm improvement works such as fencing and reclamation.
  • Buying additional livestock.
  • Support the realisation of grant supports.
  • With the recent announcement of a new financial support scheme for calf rearing by Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture the timing to look for additional funding through a Cultivate loan could suit dairy farmers looking to expand or reinvest in 2020. The new grant will cover up to 40% of qualifying costs associated with calf feeding systems including computerised calf feeders, calf treat feeders or milk carts with mixer included. Farmers will need to be able to invest between €1,000 and €7,500 ex. VAT in the scheme to qualify for the funding support. To find out more, a full list of participating Credit Unions is available at

    If you are a farmer looking to invest in your business, pop into your local participating Credit Union today, call FREEPHONE 1800 839 999 or visit to learn more about our farmer-friendly finance.