Credit unions are set to offer farmers loans up to €300,000 with Cultivate Secure, a new secured loan offering.

A select group of credit unions will introduce a new low-interest secured agricultural loan over the next few months as an extension of Cultivate, the credit union agricultural loan programme.

The move represents a ramping up of funding provision for farmers by the credit unions, as the new lending avenue has been tailored to support farmers who have more significant financial requirements than the current Cultivate offering, such as for farm buildings and other capital investment.

Cultivate Secure will offer a loan-to-value ratio of up to 80% on a sum up to the €300,000 limit and a loan term of up to 30 years.

The new, larger loans are aimed at supporting farmers who wish to make capital investments such as infrastructure as part of their farm business.

While the details are yet to be finalised, it is expected that the new loan product will have an interest rate of 5.25% and an annual percentage rate (APR) of 5.49% across participating credit unions.

Farming community

Cultivate chair Joe Healy described the new loan offering as important for the farming community.

"Through our hugely positive experience with Cultivate, we understand that our members need access to farmer-friendly finance to support both short- to medium-term and longer-term investments.

Cultivate chair Joe Healy. / Philip Doyle

“With the introduction of a product like Cultivate Secure, we can now offer longer-term farm loans to our farmer members who are looking to invest in the future sustainability of their farming enterprises,” he said.

Healy added that the loans will “allow farmers to access significant long-term finance, creating a further positive impact across our rural communities”.

Cultivate is currently available at over 150 credit union offices nationwide and Cultivate Secure will be launched initially in a select number of these locations, with details to be announced soon.