Additional $2 billion for existing drought loans and AgriStarter loan to commence in 2021

Key points

  • An additional $2 billion announced for the RIC’s drought-related loans
  • Updated interest terms for Drought and AgBiz Drought Loans
  • New record low interest rates for farming and water loans from 1 August 2020
  • AgriStarter Loan applications will open from 1 January 2021
  • An additional $50 million in RIC operational funding to deliver more loans

The Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement that an additional $2 billion this financial year will be made available to meet the demand for its drought-related loans with an additional $50 million in operational funding for the RIC over four years.

RIC Chair Karen Smith-Pomeroy said that the RIC welcomes the provision of additional Federal Government funding which will enable the delivery of ongoing support to drought-affected farmers and farm-related small businesses.

“The further support from the Federal Government ensures we are able to meet the unprecedented demand for our drought loans and continue to deliver value to rural communities and build a stronger regional Australia,” said Ms Smith-Pomeroy.

RIC Chief Executive Officer Bruce King also welcomed the additional $2 billion funding for drought-related loans to support farmers and farm-related small businesses and an additional $50 million in RIC operational funding over the next four years.

“The RIC has been receiving an incredible volume of loan applications, particularly for our Drought Loan, from farmers managing and recovering from drought or looking at ways to make their operations more drought resilient,” said Mr King.

“The additional funding announced today will help us to continue to provide affordable loans to the agriculture sector, as well as invest in more resources to support our process and meet the incredible existing demand for our loans as quickly as possible.”

The Federal Government also announced that the RIC’s Drought and AgBiz Drought Loan terms will be updated to provide five years’ interest-only then five years’ principal and interest over a 10-year term for new loan applications received after 30 September 2020.

A new record low variable interest rate of 1.92 per cent for farm business loans and 1.46 per cent for water infrastructure loans will be effective from 1 August 2020.

“The Federal Government has also announced that new interest terms will apply to our drought loans for applications received after 30 September 2020,” said Mr King.

“The new variable interest rate for farming loans is a record low for the RIC and provides valuable savings with interest repayments of around $19,200 per year for a $1 million loan at the variable rate of 1.92 per cent, or $96,000 over five years.”

The RIC’s Drought Loan offers up to $2 million and the AgBiz Drought Loan up to $500,000, both loans are currently interest free in the first two years, for applications received before 30 September 2020, followed by three years of interest only then principal and interest for the remaining five years of the 10-year loan term.

The Federal Government also announced that the RIC’s AgriStarter Loan for the next generation of Australian farmers will open for applications from 1 January 2021, with an additional $75 million allocated for loan applications this financial year. 

The AgriStarter Loan will offer up to $2 million for establishing a new farm business, buying an existing farm business or succession planning. Visit the RIC website to register interest for the AgriStarter Loan.

For the financial year ending 30 June 2020, the RIC approved more than 635 total loans valued at over $715 million, of these, more than 580 were Drought Loans valued at over $600 million. Since its inception on 1 July 2018, the RIC has approved more than 800 total loans valued at over $880 million.