Loan arrangers riding in to help farmers
The Agricultural Mortgage Corporation has announced that its loan applications from farming businesses in North Wales and the North Midlands rose by more than 45 per cent in 2018.
AMC provides long term, variable and fixed rate loans with no breaks to more than 9,000 farming businesses across the UK,
The figures, revealed at AMC’s regional agent conference at Harper Adams University at Edgmond, highlighted that more than a quarter (26 per cent) of the money loaned last year went to North Wales and North Midlands’ arable and dairy sectors. The regions also saw a significant upturn in demand for funding from the landed estate sector.
The value of loans agreed for farm building improvements and capital expenditure also increased in 2018 to make up nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of in the AMC’s lending to North Wales and the North Midlands.
Meanwhile, loans for land purchase counted for the largest percentage of AMC’s loan book in the region last year (44 per cent), but lending for restructuring debt saw the biggest increase from 2017 (up 16 per cent). This shift is thought to be a result of farming businesses looking for more stability in an uncertain period for the industry.
Just under half (49 per cent) of all borrowing in 2018 was taken on a fixed rate agreement.
AMC works closely with land agents from 19 land agency firms operating across North Wales and the North Midlands, who carry out its loan application and valuation work. The majority of firms attended the conference.
Last year was one of our strongest in recent years for loan applications in the region, with 51 per cent of these applications coming through AMC agents. We’ve also seen a strong start to 2019 with continued demand for bank refinancing applications as other lenders’ loan review clauses kick in.
Farming businesses’ finances must be structured appropriately to ensure their loan repayments remain affordable in the future. This is vital if businesses are to continue to prosper and remain resilient.
It’s important they consider options for growth and discuss the viability of expansion projects to make sure they are well positioned to evolve and succeed, whatever the future holds.
AMC has worked with land-based commercial farming businesses since 1928 to support a wide range of growth and diversification initiatives, covering everything from an initial land purchases to large and smaller scale investments.
Andrew Connah is AMC regional agricultural manager for North Wales and the North Midlands