Fighting for our farmers' future

Tuesday 1 May, 2012

RBA cuts rates: Will banks pass the benefits on to farmers?

Today's move by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to cut interest rates by 50 basis points is a positive move for farmers - if banks pass on the full cuts to their agri-customers.

Despite favourable seasonal conditions across most of Australia (including the news this week that for the first time in a decade, Australia is officially drought-free), weakening commodity prices across the dairy, wool, cotton, lamb, fruit and sugar sectors, combined with a strong Australian dollar, means challenging times for our farmers.

The RBA decision is welcome news, helping to ease some of the pressure on the agricultural sector. But the most crucial component of today's announcement is what follows it: will the banks pass the rate cuts on to farmers and agribusinesses?

Time, and the NFF Agribusiness Loan Monitor for May, will tell. The Monitor is due out on Monday 14 May. For more information in the meantime, read our release.

Interest rate subsidies dry up

From interest rate cuts to interest rate subsidy cuts: the NFF has criticised the Government's snap decision to cut interest rate subsidies for farmers facing exceptional drought situations - without an alternative policy in place.

The NFF's position on interest rate subsidies is clear: these subsidies can only be phased out once a suitable alternative, and an appropriate transition period, is in place.

This isn't about saving the subsidy program: after all, the NFF has been lobbying for an improved drought policy program for many years. It's about ensuring a suitable alternative is in place for farmers before the current program is scrapped. A snap decision - and the wrong decision - by our Government. For more, read our release.

Budget 2012: Ag funding critical

The countdown is on to the Federal Budget next week, and the NFF is stepping up its calls for continued Government investment in agriculture.

We know that tough budget decisions will need to be made by the Government in order to meet their self-imposed budget surplus deadline - but importantly, this must not mean neglecting key opportunities to invest in growth sectors of the Australian economy, like agriculture.

Now is not the time for Government to be cutting back its spending on agriculture: but rather investing for the long haul. This year, the NFF is focused on ensuring that funds already committed, and promised made, by Government are upheld - particularly re biosecurity, drought reform, coal seam gas, infrastructure, research and development, the National Food Plan, carbon, the environment, education and training and labour shortages.

For more, view our pre-Budget submission, and stay tuned for NFF updates as the Budget deadline approaches.

Coming up at NFF.

> Blueprint forum: Adelaide
The NFF will tomorrow host a Blueprint for Australian Agriculture forum in Adelaide. The forum, to be held at the Adelaide Pavilion from 1pm to 5pm, will bring together representatives from agriculture and the supply chain to have their say on farming's future. Places are still available; to register, visit the Blueprint webpage or call the NFF on 02 6269 5666.

> FarmDay 2012
This month, farmers are invited to open their farm gates to the public to showcase Australia's food and fibre production. The annual national initiative, FarmDay, is taking place on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May and the NFF is encouraging farmers to host a family on-farm. There are currently three city families registered for each farm. For more information, or to register your farm as a host farm, call 1300 367 036 or visit the FarmDay website.

The NFF AGvocate
Issue 15.

In this issue

RBA cuts rates: Will banks pass the benefits on to farmers?

Interest rate subsidies dry up

Budget 2012: Ag funding critical

Coming up at NFF.

Blueprint forum: Adelaide

FarmDay 2012

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