Belfast Telegraph

Bank of Ireland £50m agri fund an option for weather-weary farmers

By Linda Stewart

The Bank of Ireland has urged farmers who have suffered as a result of bad weather to get in touch.

The bank says that it has already ploughed more than £15m into agri-business since the launch of a £50m agri-investment fund in late 2011, and this money can be used to help farmers cover extra costs and potential production losses as a result of the recent poor weather conditions.

William Thompson, the bank's agri manager for Northern Ireland, said: "Through our participation at local agri shows and direct contact with many farmers on the ground, we are very aware of the impact the level of rainfall experienced over recent weeks is having on agri businesses.

"Many have yet to secure enough winter feed and the quality of much of the silage made to date is below what they would normally achieve.

"Ground conditions in many parts of the country have forced farmers to re-house livestock. We know that this will lead to increased feed costs later in the year in many instances.''

"When the associated drop in milk production and damage to crops are also taken into consideration, there will be additional working capital funding required on many farms, and we want to help provide that funding where we can," Mr Thompson added.

"We would ask our customers - and indeed our non-customers - to contact their local branch if they think they will need increased cash-flow support."

"Their relationship managers can help them work out a viable solution to help manage short-term cash flow difficulties which may arise."