Two key sources of loan finance for farmers are likely to take a number of months to finalise before farmers can apply according to industry sources.

A COVID-19 credit guarantee scheme to support lending to SMEs has now been extended to include farmers, and the Future Growth scheme from SBCI will hopefully be available for applications in July.

Noreen Lacey, head of business development at ifac, said: “There are only limited details available to farmers right now. The most applicable scheme looks to be the SBCI Future Growth scheme. From talking to the main pillar banks this week, it is likely to be at least July before applications will be processed.

“If farmers are considering this, they should get a credit application into SBCI as they need that before applying to the bank. If farmers were considering this, they should submit an Eligibility Application Form to the SBCI to check if it is eligible to apply. Farmers need an eligibility confirmation letter before applying to the bank.”

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