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Farmers say 'about time' as all rural lenders introduce FMD offsets

10 August 2018

The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) has praised all major rural lenders for making what most said was impossible – possible, with the introduction of a farm management deposit (FMD) offset.

NFF President Fiona Simson said the decision was welcomed at a time when many farmers were doing it tough.

“In the long term, access to an FMD offset is likely to incentivise more farmers to increase and/or make contributions to FMDs.

"An FMD is an important tool in bolstering the overall resilience of farm businesses, when challenging periods, such as drought hit."

Ms Simson said the Banking Royal Commission had been a chance to shine a light on the conduct of banks when it comes to their relationship with farmers.

"Many of the issues raised through the Commission, had already been recognsied by our rural lenders, and action had been taken to rectify these.

“In terms of FMD offsets, it was a shame we needed a Royal Commission, a record-breaking drought and political pressure, for most, to do the right thing, but nevertheless, in the end, the right result has been achieved."

Ms Simson implored the banks to continue to be cognisant of the impact of their dealings with farmers, especially those managing drought.

“The pressure being felt by farmers across the eastern seaboard cannot be under estimated. Much of this pressure is financial.

“The banks have a strong duty of care to ensure that this pressure isn’t ratcheted up to an unreasonable level.

“At the end of the day, most farmers have a strong, valuable relationship with their bank or banks.

“The NFF hopes that the pit-stop provided by the Royal Commission, will be just the tune-up we needed to keep this relationship powering and to see our sector speed towards its goal of $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030."

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