RIC Drought Loan brings relief to bee business
Ardrossan, South Australia, Narungga country
Danny Le Feuvre, founder and Managing Director of Australian Bee Services and CEO of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council, is a first-generation beekeeper.
Australian Bee Services is a business that generates approximately half of its income from honey production and the remainder from supplying bees for pollination services.
They have up to 2,000 hives across South Australia which produce honey for supply to major brands and also produce their own honey brands including Beelicious Honey and SA Gold Honey.
“Contracted bees might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Yorke Peninsula,” Danny said.
“But across South Australia, pollination services are in high demand.
“Bees are crucial for fruit, seed and broadacre crops all over SA, like almonds, blueberries and avocadoes."
“During the drought, the dry conditions resulted in lower honey production,” he said.
A Drought Loan helped Australian Bee Services to refinance and pay off a higher interest loan.
“Having the RIC Drought Loan in our business over the longer term has meant that we’ve been able to provide a bit more stability," Danny said.
"It’s a really valuable long-term tool that can really help manage the ups and downs.
"It freed up some of our cash flow early on to focus on reducing some of our high interest debts to a sustainable level.
“They are loans, not grants,” he explained.
“I see the loan as a tool that is available for you to use in your financial tool kit,” he said.
“It’s worth it. We were able to use the savings to keep the business afloat.
“You need to provide the RIC with all the information you’d usually need to supply to your bank."
Farm businesses can connect with The Rural Financial Counselling Service to help with loan applications.
Danny is confident about the future of his business and the outlook for Australian agriculture.