Farm Business & Inputs Reports

Farm Business & Inputs Council Report October 2020

Activity since last National Council

Pre-Budget 2021 Lobbying

  • The budget will be announced on Tuesday 13th
  • Pre-budget lobbying information sessions were organised via MS Teams on a regional basis.
  • Pre-budget lobbying has been carried out throughout the country at a local level by IFA officers.
  • There has been strong engagement with politicians and the lobbying has been well documented on social media.

Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (Covid-19 CGS)

  • See the IFA Guide to the Covid-19 CGS on the IFA website for further detail.
  • €2bn fund backed by an 80% state guarantee and overseen by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland.
  • The scheme is now open for applications – apply directly to AIB, Bank of Ireland or Ulster Bank.
  • Primary producers in agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture are included under the scheme.
  • Sole traders, partnerships and private limited companies are eligible.
  • The deadline for applications is December 31st
  • Borrowings can be used for working capital, investment or refinancing of Covid-19-related debt.
  • In relation to eligibility, while an applicant’s business must be negatively impacted by Covid-19, the business does not need to be in a position of severe financial distress.
  • The eligibility requirement of a 15% loss to expected or actual turnover could be made up of reduced output prices or the inability to sell livestock, among other things.

IFA Debt Support Service

  • The Debt Support Service has revised its terms of business in conjunction with Stafford Farm Consultants:
    • IFA membership is a pre-requisite in order to engage the services of IFA Debt Support Service, be it a new or existing case.
    • IFA Debt Support Service volunteers will not charge IFA members for the time they spend working on their cases – be it mileage, support, advice or negotiation. Accordingly, IFA Debt Support Service volunteers withhold the discretion to remain involved in a Debt Support Service case.
    • For new cases, IFA will pay for an initial meeting of one hour and a further three hours of consultancy with Stafford Farm Consultants.
    • When an existing IFA Debt Support Service case reengages with the IFA Debt Support Service after September 15th 2020, they are entitled to a further three hours of consultation by Stafford Farm Consultants from that date forward, paid for by the IFA.
    • If an IFA member chooses, Stafford Farm Consultants will be willing to provide private consultation for a fee, after the period of consultation paid for by the IFA.
    • IFA may at its discretion increase the amount of consultation by Stafford Farm Consultancy which is paid for by IFA.
    • There is no compulsion upon a service user to use the services of Stafford Farm Consultancy.
    • The onus is on an IFA member to promptly provide all the relevant financial and legal documentation.

Personal Insolvency Arrangements (PIAs)

  • PIAs are a debt resolution mechanism for people in arrears facing insolvency. They are a formal agreement with creditors that will write off some unsecured debt and restructure any remaining secured debt (terms and conditions apply), while keeping the person in their home where possible. A recent circuit court judgement permitted farmland to be eligible for a PIA in certain circumstances.
  • In the course of the IFA Debt Support Service reviewing its existing cases, it has identified the few cases that could be considered for a PIA and will notify the IFA member of their possible suitability for a PIA.

Reports of NatWest closing Ulster Bank

  • IFA wrote to Jane Howard, CEO of Ulster Bank, seeking a commitment that the bank would remain in the country.
  • IFA co-signed a Save Our Ulster Bank statement organised by the Financial Services Union seeking a commitment from Ulster Bank to remain in operation in the Republic.

Meetings with Banks

  • Virtual meetings with AIB, BOI and UB to keep track of ongoing issues.

Upcoming issues

  • Budget 2021 on Tuesday 13th
  • Finance Act 2020
  • Maintaining pressure on Government to seek an extension of the Temporary State Aid Framework from the EU in order to extend the Covid-19 CGS into 2021 and expand the CGS to include the impact of Brexit.
  • As the Covid-19 Loan Payment Breaks come to an end, some borrowers may face difficulty.
  • Further meetings with banks to continue to get and provide feedback regarding ongoing finance issues.


Activity since last National Council

  • The European Commission has renewed the anti-dumping measure on Ammonium Nitrate (AN) imports from Russia to the EU for another 5 years.
  • IFA submitted a reply to the Commission highlighting the impact of this decision on Irish farmers.

Upcoming issues

  • IFA must lobby for a percentage of the PSO Levy on electricity to be allocated to community-owned renewable energy projects.
ChairRose Mary McDonagh
ExecutiveDonal Sheehan

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