Credit Unions Combine To Support Local Farmers

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John O’Sullivan, left and William Dennehy, Dairy Farmers, Currow with Siobhan Dennehy, Marketing Manager Cara Credit Union, at the launch of a new Agri Loan product called ‘Cultivate’ with Six Credit Unions in the Kerry/Cork region. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

EARLY milking was the order of the day on as six Credit Unions in the Kerry/Cork region joined forces to launch a new Agri Loan product called Cultivate.

The launch held in The Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney was supported by farmers and industry experts alike.

The Credit Unions involved are Ballincollig, Bantry and Kanturk in Cork and on the Kerry side of the border Cara, (Castleisland, Killorglin and Tralee Branches) Killarney and Listowel Credit Unions.

The new Credit Union farm lending offering is branded under the name “Cultivate” and was officially launched by IFA National Chairman – Farm Business, Martin Stapleton.

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MC for the night was Pat Spillane, Rural Ambassador and former Kerry GAA star and guest speaker was Darragh Mc Cullough from RTE’s ‘Ear to the Ground’.

The Credit Union farm lending project is modelled on a pilot initiative by four Credit Unions in County Galway who launched the Cultivate brand in 2017.

Derry Fleming, staff member at Castleisland Credit Union at the launch of a new Agri Loan product called ‘Cultivate’ with Six Credit Unions in the Kerry/Cork region.  Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

Since then, 20 credit unions throughout Ireland have introduced the Agri loan product to members.

Since its introduction, Cultivate has proved very popular with farmers with nearly €20m in loans issued to farmers.

The Cultivate farm loans are for a wide variety of purposes, everything from working capital, cash flow, farm development, livestock purchase, farm machinery purchase, rural enterprise funding, and start up farm finance.

Speaking at the official launch Wednesday Martin Stapleton, IFA National Chairman – Farm Business, stated; “We are delighted to be associated with Credit Unions and Cultivate and welcome competition to the farm finance market, allowing our members to benefit from accessible and competitive credit”

Also speaking on the night was Brendan Heneghan former Regional Manager with Teagasc and project manager of the Cultivate brand “We are delighted to officially launch the Cultivate Agri loan products to credit union members in Cork and Kerry area. We have been working hard on this project for the past number of months. Credit Union Agri loan staff have completed a bespoke 5-day course on Farm and Finance organised by Teagasc in association with Pallaskenry Agricultural college. Credit Unions are now open and ready for business” he concluded.

The Cultivate farm loan package will offer loans up to €50,000 for a variety of purposes. The loan rate is a competitive loan rate.  The term of the loan can be up to 7 years. Loan protection insurance is also provided on the loan at no additional charge.

Brendan added “We hope that farmers will look to their local credit unions as an alternative for farm finance. After all, credit unions are embedded in their local communities and are in a position to lend to those living or working locally”.

Information on Cultivate farm loans can be got from any of the participating Credit Unions or www.cultivate-cu.ie

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