That's when she decided to reach out to her local credit union for a Cultivate loan.

Hillary wanted to improve the housing for cattle on her farm, so with her Cultivate loan, she has invested in a new slatted unit to house her cattle over the winter, while also having the opportunity to add on to other sheds and improve her handling facilities.

Cultivate CU was originally an initiative created by a group of 46 credit unions to provide short- to medium-term loan finance, built specifically around the growing needs of Irish farmers.

Cultivate offers a farmer-friendly finance option for farmers seeking unsecured funding of up to €75,000 over seven years.

Cultivate loans are available from over 150 credit union offices nationwide.

Hillary used a Cultivate loan to build housing for her cattle during the winter.

To help Hillary develop her beef enterprise, she turned to her local credit union and applied for a Cultivate loan.

The result of which has been an easier life, not just for Hillary but also her livestock. “Even for the cattle, it was the best thing we have ever done really,” Hillary said.

Having gone through the full process of applying and securing a Cultivate loan, Hillary’s words of advice reflect a very positive experience of dealing with Cultivate:

“Go and talk to them. They’ll help you in every way they can and that’s so important for anyone.”

Unsecured loans and flexible repayment options

Key to Hillary’s decision to avail of a Cultivate loan was the fact that the loan was unsecured, making it much more accessible.

“With the Cultivate loan, they offer unsecured lending, so that helps someone like me who’s only a part-time farmer.”

As a farmer-friendly finance option, loan repayment schedules are available up to a period of seven years, with flexibility to repay at times that make sense for the individual farmer.

Cultivate loans are unsecured and there is no need to be an existing credit union member to avail of a loan. Farmers can sign up in their local participating credit union office and be eligible to apply for a Cultivate loan immediately.

The average Cultivate loan application from farmers for 2022 was for €31,541. Cultivate loans are used by farmers like Hillary Courtney for a wide range of key on-farm activities including:

  • Stocking or working capital (32%).
  • Upgrading farm buildings and facilities (18%).
  • Purchasing farm equipment (17%).
  • These loan purposes underline the importance farmers are placing on investing in their farms, while also highlighting the ongoing pressures facing farmers due to rising input costs.

    Cultivate loans are offered by 46 credit unions across more than 150 locations in Ireland. A full list of participating credit unions is available at

    Inaugural National Cultivate Week

    This March, Cultivate Credit Unions across the country will join forces to celebrate National Cultivate Week, a week-long celebration taking place from 27 March to 2 April.

    The week's line-up of virtual and in-person events will highlight Cultivate Credit Unions' ongoing support for the farming community in Ireland.

    Farmers who want to find out more about National Cultivate Week or how to access a Cultivate loan are encouraged to call their local participating credit union over the event week, or they can go to or call 1800 839999 for further information.

    Loans are subject to approval. Terms and conditions apply. If you do not meet the repayments on your loan, your account will go into arrears.

    This may affect your credit rating, which may limit your ability to access credit in the future. The cost of your repayments may also increase.

    Credit unions in Ireland are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.