SCOTLAND - NFU Scotland has met with representatives of Scotland’s banks to highlight the impact that this year’s exceptional weather has had on farm businesses throughout Scotland.
Based on the Union’s recent wet weather survey, which received 464 replies, half of those farmers who responded have already needed extra cash for their businesses and a similar number expect to have to take extra steps to improve their cash flow by the spring. For them, affordable access to credit was deemed to be useful or very useful to their businesses.
NFU Scotland’s President, Nigel Miller, who represented the Union at the talks said: "There are very few businesses which, despite best efforts, have been sheltered from this year’s poor weather. Indeed the effects will continue to be felt for some time to come as producers have struggled to sow winter crops and to secure supplies of good quality and affordable feed for their stock this winter.
"We regularly meet banking representatives to discuss issues raised by our members, but the message at this latest meeting was particularly urgent.
NFUS also explained in full to bank staff the problems being faced on all farm types. These include income lost due to unfinished harvest and mounting bills as stock are housed early. At the meeting, which took place last week, the banks’ representatives outlined a number of options farmers can explore in order to help them get through this difficult spell.
“Nearly half the members we surveyed reported some kind of financial impact on their business due to the weather, and we were at pains to impress upon the banks the need to identify ways of working with farmers to help them get through this difficult time, Mr Miller added.
“The representatives we spoke to stressed that they have confidence in the industry, which continues to be a comparatively safe haven amid wider economic turbulence. They recommended farmers consider a number of actions if they are concerned about balancing the books this winter," warned Mr Miller
Mr Miller reiterated the bank's recommendation that farmers could move some of their core overdraft borrowing onto a term loan and reassured if loan requests are turned down, banks do operate an appeal mechanism.
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