Farmer fights forced sale of land
The vulture fund Cerberus are attempting to sell a farmer’s land without his permission.

Hugh Reynolds, a farmer in Coole, Co Westmeath, is preparing to fight the proposed sale of his farm by so-called vulture fund Cerberus.

Negotiations have been ongoing between the farmer and Cerberus for several months, with the 44-acre farm appearing for sale on the online auction site BidX1 on several occasions.

“I believe I’ve made a more than reasonable offer to buy back the land but they’ve refused point blank,” Reynolds told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“They’re after putting it up and taking it down a few times now,” the distressed farmer said, explaining that the situation was made worse by the cat-and-mouse game that the vulture fund seemed to be playing.

I’ve made a more than reasonable offer to buy back the land

“It’s good-quality land but they had it up at a guide price of €5,000/ac, which is ridiculous.

“They’ve also advertised it as ‘vacant possession’ but I have a tenant on the land.

“I just want to get the message out there that this would be a forced sale of land,” he said.

Previous research carried out by the Irish Farmers Journal shows that up to 194ac of land in Co Westmeath is controlled by vulture funds.

The land is due to go up for auction next Thursday. Bidders on the online auction site have the option to remain completely anonymous and land sold under auction is subject to an immediate binding contract.

Farm organisations have stood firm on the issue of forced land sales and have called on vulture funds to stop such practices.

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Arrabawn holds December milk price
The processor is the most recent to announce that its milk price will be unchanged.

Arrabawn has decided to hold its price for December milk at 30.6c/l excluding VAT.

The price has remained unchanged for several months.

Most co-ops opted to leave milk prices unchanged for December.

Dairygold

Dairygold announced that it will hold their December milk price at 30.36c/l excluding VAT.

The price is inclusive of a 0.5c/l quality bonus based on standard constituents of 3.3% protein and 3.6% butterfat.

The co-op has also held this price for several months.

Lakeland Dairies, Glanbia and Kerry Group held their price at 30.4c/l (excluding VAT) for December milk supplies.

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Aurivo and Carbery set milk prices for December

The farmer's daily wrap: low-cost loans and BDGP map
Check out the latest headlines and get a look ahead at tomorrow's weather forecast.

Weather forecast

A status yellow nationwide snow and ice warning is in place from 7pm Monday 21 January until 9pm the following day.

According to Met Éireann, hill and mountain areas are expected to be the worst affected.

Frost and ice are predicted and temperatures will dip to -1°C, with fresh winds.

In the news

  • Minister Creed has said some 2,511 farmers are yet to pass the approval process for their BDGP payment.
  • Vets have criticised the Department’s level of action in the run-up to Brexit.
  • Grant funding of up to €25,000 is available to farmers participating in GLAS to restore traditional farm buildings and structures.
  • Farmers will have to draw down a minimum of €50,000 to access the next low-cost loan scheme.
  • Social Farming is set to double the number of its farmer participants from 60 to 120, according to its annual report.
    Minimum €50,000 draw-down for low-cost loans
    Farmers will have to draw down a minimum of €50,000 to access the next low-cost loan scheme.

    The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) has confirmed details of the Future Growth Loan Scheme, including that farmers will have to apply for a minimum of €50,000 to avail of the scheme.

    The long-awaited low-cost loan scheme will offer eligible businesses and farmers loans at an interest rate of 4.5% or less.

    The maximum draw down is €3m and the loans are for terms of between eight and 10 years.

    Banks have been invited to apply to distribute the new low-cost loan scheme, with Bank of Ireland, AIB and Ulster Bank all having previously expressed interest in taking part in the scheme.

    Loans in March

    Up to €300m is available under the scheme, which is being developed in conjunction with the SBCI, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Business.

    Minister for Business Heather Humphreys previously told the Irish Farmers Journal that she hopes to see the loan scheme fully operational by March this year.

    Financial institutions have until 11 February to submit their applications to become lending partners.

    Previous scheme

    Under the previous low-cost loan scheme, the interest rate was set at 2.95%, with loan terms available between 18 months and three years.

    A total fund of €150m was available, with roughly €145m drawn down by farmers. By October last year, some €47.5m had been repaid.

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    Where is the low-interest loan fund?