Agriculture loan scheme launches

Loans aim to maintain cash flow for farmers and crofters during COVID-19 crisis.

A loan scheme to support farmers and crofters through the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has been announced by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

With the additional uncertainty caused by Brexit, the National Basic Payment Support Scheme will maintain vital cash flow for farm and croft businesses by injecting up to £340 million into the rural economy.

The scheme will give farmers and crofters access to vital financial support up to three months earlier than the EU CAP payment period, helping them continue to operate during the crisis.

Mr Ewing said:

“Our farmers and crofters are vital to Scotland’s economy, putting food on our plates during this unprecedented crisis.

“As the end of the Brexit transition period approaches at the end of this year, these farmers will only be feeling additional anxiety, so it is essential that they have the cash flow they need to continue operating.

“While we had considered using the Advanced Payment option to process CAP basic payments earlier than in previous years, COVID-19 made us reconsider whether this could deliver as much support as quickly as a loan scheme. Our absolute priority is ensuring farmers and crofters receive their payments as we move towards a full exit from the EU, so we have decided to offer a further loan scheme so that farmers can access this support at the earliest ever point.

“I would encourage anyone who would like to accept their loan offer to do so by email where they can, to allow us to process these important payments as quickly as possible.”

The loan scheme provides Scottish farmers and crofters access of up to 95% of their 2020 CAP BPS and Greening payment, restricted to the scheme maximum of £133,638.  Loan offer letters will be sent to eligible farmers and crofters from the beginning of August, with the first payments due in September.