Finance plays an essential role in every business, including the food and fibre sector. Related to this are matters such as debt management, tax management and business structures.
Usually you can see a way ahead when working with your accountant and bank, but sometimes you feel financially stuck. You may want to discuss this with someone and we’re here to help.
Below is information about some assistance we may be able to help you tap into.
Funding to get advice for struggling farmers
Farm Business Advice Support Fund
This is an initiative funded by banks and the government offering support for farmers and growers struggling with business debt.
The government originally allocated $200,000 for the Farm Business Advice Support Fund which is managed by Rural Support Trusts and this has been increased by a further $149,000 for farmers around the country with an additional pool of $200,000 to specifically assist those in the North Island regions impacted by the flooding events in 2023.
For a qualifying farmer or grower, the Fund will provide up to $6,000 to pay for financial or business advice from an independent consultant.
The National Council of Rural Support Trusts and New Zealand Bankers’ Association signed the agreement for the Fund back in 2020. Under the agreement, the Rural Support Trusts will provide up to $3,000, depending on an assessment of need, and the relevant bank will match that dollar for dollar.
RST National Council chair Neil Bateup says the fund is for a farmer or grower who is feeling pressure. “The hope is that there may still be options available so that the wishes of all parties can form a solution for going forward and the banks came on board recognising it’s in everyone’s best interests to have an opportunity to work through solutions.”
Rural Support Trusts take an application from, or on behalf of, a farmer or grower who might qualify for assistance. Both the bank and farmer or grower will agree on the expert instructed to provide assistance and the terms of reference for the work.
The consultant will provide a report, which will be given to the farmer or grower and their bank.
This initiative involves ASB, ANZ, BNZ, Heartland Bank, Rabobank, SBS Bank, TSB and Westpac.
If you would like to know more or wish to apply please contact your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254.
Farm Debt Mediation Scheme and Hardship Fund
The Farm Debt Mediation Act was passed into law on 13 December 2019, and the Scheme – with an associated hardship fund became operational on 1 July 2020.
Under the Farm Debt Mediation Act 2019, secured creditors must offer mediation before taking any debt enforcement action against farmers or eligible primary production businesses.
The scheme uses neutral and independent mediators to help farmers and their creditors work through debt issues. The aim is to provide a negotiation process that is:
This will help farmers and creditors agree on how to proceed. MPI administers, promotes and monitors the scheme. The Mediation Hardship Fund helps farmers who want to use the Farm Debt Mediation Scheme but can't afford the cost. Farmers in extreme hardship can apply to have their mediation paid for by MPI. You can find more information on the Farm Debt Mediation Scheme and Mediation Hardship Fund on their website.