Farmers are improving drought recovery, readiness and climate adaptation by accessing a Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) low-cost, long-term loan to better prepare for anticipated severe weather disruptions.
Following devastating floods last year in some parts of NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, drying conditions may seem a far cry.
But the latest climate research suggests El Niño conditions could be ahead, with prolonged periods of dry fast approaching. In addition to the El Niño Southern Oscillation, climate change continues to influence Australian and global climates.
RIC Chief Executive Officer, John Howard said the RIC is pleased to be able to support farm businesses to prepare for drying conditions.
“The deeply challenging reality of drying conditions isn’t something we want to think about, but farmers know early preparation is key to their business viability,” Mr Howard said.
In the coming decades, Australia is expected to experience ongoing changes to its weather and climate, including more heat extremes and fewer cold extremes, decreases in rainfall and a longer fire season.
“A RIC Drought Loan can help farm businesses not only to prepare for the next dry season, but for ongoing hotter and drier conditions as they adapt to climate change.
“One customer has used their Drought Loan to build two new dams, increase the size of an existing dam and increase water capacity by about 70 per cent. Another family farming business has used their Drought Loan to adapt to shifting market trends and invest in horticultural crops to future-proof,” Mr Howard said.
Key features of the Drought Loan include:
- a longer term of 10 years offering 5 years interest only, followed by 5 years’ principal and interest
- ability for early repayment with no penalty or the option to refinance the remainder back to a commercial bank at the end of the term
- interest rates essentially fixed for 6 months at a time (reviewed twice per year)
- interest rates determined by the average of the 10-year government bond rate, not the Reserve Bank of Australia cash rate.
“RIC loans are designed to back farmers and provide greater peace of mind so agribusinesses can plan and manage their cashflow in advance. We know that 91% of RIC customers reported their loan made drought recovery easier, and 89% had greater confidence in the future of their farm business.”
Applicants need to meet all mandatory eligibility criteria to apply for a RIC loan, including demonstrating they are in financial need and have existing commercial debt. Unlike a grant, farm businesses also need to provide security and demonstrate their ability to repay the loan. Find out more at ric.gov.au/drought.
Media Contact: Siobhan Jones | E email@example.com | M 0435 168 885. Farmers’ stories available on request.
About the Regional Investment Corporation
The Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) is an Australian Government-backed specialist finance provider for farmers, farm-related small businesses and plantation businesses. Since its inception on 1 July 2018, the RIC has approved more than 2880 total loans valued at over $3.12 billion as at 30 November 2022.