Loans to start up in farming

Member for Riverina and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has announced a loan program designed to support the next generation of farmers has opened for applications.

"The AgriStarter Loan Program, managed by the Regional Investment Corporation, encourages new entrants to farming and can assist with succession arrangements," Mr McCormack said.

The Australian Government has provided an additional $75 million in 2020-21 for the AgriStarter Loan Program to assist new entrants to farming looking to purchase, establish or develop their first farm business and to support farming succession arrangements.

Individual loans of up to $2 million can be used for a range of purposes, including purchasing a farm business and other farm business assets, as well as putting it toward costs associated with the succession planning process.

"Having grown up on a farm and having members of my family still involved in farming I know how important it is to encourage the younger generations to get involved in farming or stay in the industry through succession planning," Mr McCormack said.

"The AgriStarter Loan Program will support these important objectives."

The loan program has been an important initiative to help farmers and small businesses get through the hard times, while also supporting new farming enterprises to get off the ground.

The RIC's current variable concessional interest rate is a record low at 1.92 per cent. The initial loan term would be 10 years, with interest-only repayments for the first five years and principal and interest repayments for the final five years.

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Mr McCormack has also welcomed New Year's tariff cuts which build on huge benefits Free Trade Agreements have already delivered for Australia's agricultural, food and fisheries exporters.

"Significant tariff cuts and improved market access on a range of commodities traded across the Americas and Asia took effect at the start of 2021," Mr McCormack said. "The cuts deliver a huge opportunity for Riverina and Central West primary producers."

Tariffs on lamb and beef to Korea and some wine products and barley to Mexico will all fall in 2021, while exporters to Peru will benefit from tariff cuts on beef and sparkling wine as well as increased quotas for rise, dairy, sugar and sorghum.