Farm businesses are reminded that the Farm Finance Concessional Loans Scheme in Western Australia is now open and businesses can apply for loans.
Farm Finance is an Australian Government initiative that aims to build the ongoing financial resilience of farm businesses.
In Western Australia, the scheme will assist farm businesses by providing loans to undertake productivity enhancement activities. These loans are not for restructuring existing debts or for carry-on finance.
The scheme, totalling $50 million, is funded by the Australian Government and is being delivered by the Rural Business Development Corporation (RBDC) on behalf of the Western Australian Government.
The scheme is capped at $25 million per year for 2013–14 and 2014–15. Funds will be allocated across two application periods, one in 2013–14 and one in 2014–15.
Sole traders, partnerships, private companies or trusts carrying out farming activities in Western Australia may apply for a concessional interest rate loan of between $50,000 and $200,000 to enhance their productivity.
These farming activities include broadacre, pastoral, horticulture, dairy, intensive agriculture and aquaculture.
The 2013–14 application round closes at 5pm on 30 April 2014, with farm businesses encouraged to apply as soon as possible as completed applications will be assessed in order of receipt.
An initial concessional interest rate of 4.5 per cent per year has been set by the Australian Government. This rate will be reviewed and revised if necessary by the Australian Government on a six monthly basis in accordance with material changes to the Commonwealth five year bond rate.
The loans will be interest-only at the concessional rate with principal repayment at the end of the loan term of up to five years.
A net non-farm asset threshold of $421,500 will apply and applicants must also have less than $400,000 in liquid assets such as shares, Farm Management Deposits and cash at bank.
The application form and more details of the scheme for Western Australia are available at the Department of Agriculture and Food website at www.agric.wa.gov.au/farmfinance or by contacting the RBDC on 1800 198 231 (free call within Western Australia) or email [email protected].
Examples of eligible farm business productivity enhancement activities include but are not limited to: enterprise build-up/expansion of operations; diversification of farm business; investment in farm-related value-adding; reclamation of degraded areas; purchase of livestock that would provide long-term improvement to the farm business’s productivity (such as dairy herd conversion or purchase of breeding livestock); water harvesting and water quality protection.