A new program to improve farmers’ skills in financial risk management and prevent business failure will be piloted in the South.
The Rural Communities Ministry of Primary Industries and Director of Agricultural Support Nick Story said the ministry was funding the development of an “innovative” new program, which would be piloted in places like Otago and Southland.
A pilot group for women farmers in the sheep, cattle and dairy sectors will be held in Winton on June 30.
Another pilot group of agricultural partnerships (men and women) in the sheep, cattle and dairy sectors will be held in Balclutha on July 1st.
The Agri-Women’s Development Trust received $ 331,000 for the research, design and delivery of the financial risk management training course.
âThe primary sector is the backbone of our economy and it is essential that we make sure that farmers and producers are equipped to deal with the challenges facing the sector,â said Mr. Story.
âThis course will give them the skills, tools and confidence to make their agribusiness more financially resilient. Farmers and producers cannot control the weather, commodity prices, or changes in consumer buying habits, but they can plan and prepare for the change. “
Trust chief executive Lisa Sims said the aim of the training was to enable farmers and producers to understand the different types of risks their business faces and to equip them with the skills to develop plans for manage the financial and personal implications of these risks.
Funding for the program was part of a $ 1.15 million commitment in fiscal year 2020-2021 to reduce the risk of primary producers finding themselves in financial disputes, Story said.
The ministry had allocated $ 500,000 per year for three years to help improve financial literacy and risk management skills, and an additional $ 100,000 was also allocated to the Farm Business Advisory Support Fund to provide farmers independent advice to help them reduce farm debt.
âThis fund is managed by the National Council of the Rural Support Trust and has already been consulted by more than 40 companies. The support is believed to have prevented farmers from defaulting on loans and needing the services of the farm debt mediation program. “
The program was launched in July 2020 and has an annual budget of $ 550,000 to help farmers and producers resolve debt issues with their lenders.
âThere were 42 requests for mediation services under the program. Importantly, he encouraged lenders to engage in conversations with at-risk clients earlier, thereby avoiding recourse to mediation. “
Farmers and producers could request mediation at any time, and hardship funding was available through the ministry.