This week was the first time I heard of bona fide farmers, rather than agri business companies, receiving notification from their bank that they were going to be charged a “negative interest rate” on their cash balances. We have come full circle on interest rates in Irish agriculture. In the very early 1980s, they reached a peak of 20% and over that in some cases. The damage done to farm incomes and family wellbeing sparked a major reassessment by the banks of their agricultural lending policies.

Those who had borrowed to purchase land were particularly badly affected