One in every four MilkFlex loan applications last year came from Lakeland Dairies suppliers.
The loan scheme was developed in 2016 to give dairy farmers access to funding that insulates the borrowings from price volatility as well as disease in the herd.
It has built-in ‘flex triggers’ that allow a farmer to adjust his or her loan repayment terms in response to volatile movements in milk price or disease outbreak, which could typically put farm finances under pressure.
Since the second phase of Milkflex opened last year, some 800 farmers nationwide have applied. More than 210 of those were Lakeland farmers.
The co-op has hosted a series of information workshops in Cavan, Kells, Castleblayney and Mullingar to give farmers a better understanding of how the loan scheme works.
Lakeland Dairies chair Alo Duffy said: “We are delighted to be able to facilitate our suppliers with the MilkFlex loan and we are encouraged to see such a strong uptake.
“It is an innovative tool for farmers to borrow money at competitive rates to help facilitate critical on-farm investments. Tools that help hedge against volatility in the market are to be encouraged.”
MilkFlex loans can be used for on-farm investments or to refinance existing merchant or bank debt. The eight-year loans have an interest rate of 3.75%.
They are managed by Finance Ireland with funding from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and Rabobank.
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