29 Sep 2015

75 percent of Fonterra farmers take interest-free loan

2:34 pm on 29 September 2015

More than 75 percent of Fonterra's farmer suppliers have taken up the co-operative's offer of an interest-free loan.

Fonterra building

The Fonterra headquarters on Princes St in central Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

The loan provides 50 cents for every kilogram of milk solids for share-backed production from 1 June o the end of December this year.

Fonterra said the loan would be interest-free until May 2017, and automatic repayments will occur when total advance rate payments exceed six dollars.

The co-operative said when applications closed on Friday, 7,800 farmers applied for the loan.

Federated Farmers Sharemilkers chair Neil Filer said sharemilkers were not eligible to apply for the loan because they did not hold shares, but most farm owners were sharing the support.

"The sharemilkers I've been hearing about have been getting supported by their farm owners through the loans, but probably more indirectly than directly.

"A lot of farm owners are picking up some feed costs, urea costs, maybe some labour costs just to make sure the sharemilker stays viable through the season.

"There has been a bit of demand for farmers to pass the loan on directly through to sharemilkers, so Federated Farmers has drawn up a loan type agreement for any farm owners that do want to directly pass cash on to their sharemilkers."

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