What is the AgriGrowth Loan Scheme?
The AgriGrowth Loan Scheme is an initiative of the Tasmanian Government providing low interest loans to Tasmanian farm businesses and agri-food businesses. It will support projects that advance the government’s Agrivision 2050 plan which aims to increase the value of the agriculture and agri-food sectors in Tasmania.
The AgriGrowth Loan Scheme will provide financial assistance to Tasmanian farm businesses and agri-food business, where the majority of business is conducted in Tasmania, for projects that advance the government’s agri-growth agenda. Eligible purposes include:
- Developing an innovative agribusiness initiative that has a long lead time until income is generated
- Starting a new enterprise or expanding an existing enterprise or
- Implementing Productivity or Value Enhancement Activities, that otherwise could not be brought forward and/or financed under normal banking arrangements.
The Loan scheme will provide loans ranging from $100 000 to $3 million to fund projects that otherwise could not be brought forward and/or financed under normal banking arrangements.
Key features of the AgriGrowth Loan Scheme
- Loans of up to $3 million for eligible farm business and agri-food businesses operating in Tasmania for projects that advance the Agrivision 2050 plan.
- Generally loan amounts of less than $100,000 will not be considered under the scheme.
- Loan amounts will be considered up to 80 per cent of a recognised valuation for freehold assets provided for loan security. Other non-freehold assets may also be considered for security.
- The maximum loan term is normally up to five (5) years. Longer terms up to 15 years may be considered in specific circumstances.
- Variable concessional interest rates will apply (in the order of 2.5 per cent per annum as at Jan 2020) for a maximum of five (5) years.
- Interest only payments are available for a maximum of five (5) years.
- Loans must be repaid in full or fully refinanced at the end of the agreed loan term.
- Principal loan instalments will commence when cash flow is generated.
- Up to five hours of free professional business planning or relevant advice through the Enterprise Centre network is available on request.
- Applications will be assessed on the criteria contained within the guidelines.
Productivity Enhancement activities encompass systems and management practices that enhance sustainable primary production in Tasmania.
Examples of eligible Productivity Enhancement activities include, but are not limited to:
- Enterprise build-up/expansion of operations
- Diversification of the farm business
- Purchase and upgrade of equipment, plant or machinery
- Purchase of livestock that will provide long term improvement to the farm businesses productivity
- Implementing proprietary energy efficient or renewable energy farm infrastructure
- Purchase of irrigation and water management systems for improved water use and efficiency
- Projects that increase the market value of primary production
- Other activities not listed but to the satisfaction of the Department of State Growth.
To be eligible for an AgriGrowth Loan, you are a Tasmanian Farm Business or an Agri-food Business where;
A Farm Business is defined as being involved in agriculture, horticulture, pastoral, apiculture, or aquaculture industries and may also be for the purpose of activities related to agri-tourism.
An Agri-food Business is classified as those businesses that transform, package or otherwise value-add to primary products that are marketable for human consumption. They are generally limited to businesses that employ 35 or fewer full time equivalents and have an annual turnover of $5 million or less.
All applicants will:
- Operate as a sole trader, trust, partnership or private company;
- Demonstrate a clear need for the loan, to the satisfaction of the Department of State Growth, and projects must advance the Government’s agri-growth agenda/policy;
- Include a minimum three year business plan to the satisfaction of the department (in some cases the department may request that the applicant use a recognised consultant to assist with the plan);
- Demonstrate ongoing financial viability with the loan application and business plan showing that the venture will be profitable within the agreed loan period; and
- The business must be registered for tax purposes in Australia with an Australian Business Number (ABN) and be registered for GST.
With regard to a Farm Business at least one member of the Farm Business must be a farmer who, under normal circumstances, generally contributes at least 50 per cent of his or her labour and will generally derive at least 50 per cent of his or her income from the Farm Business within the loan term.
Eligibility and assessment criteria are detailed in the AgriGrowth Loan scheme guidelines.
Young Farmer Support Package
The Young Farmer Support Package is to be read in conjunction with the AgriGrowth Loan Scheme.
Key features of the package include:
- Cost Reductions
- Waiving loan establishment fees
- Capping the cost of Crown Law loan documentation at $500
- Enhanced concessional interest rates for the first two years of loan assistance
- More Flexible Security and Loan Arrangements
- Unsecured or partially secured loans of up to $250 000 may be considered on a case by case basis
- Other non-freehold assets such as livestock, plant equipment or other tangible assets may be considered for security purposes
- Consideration of leasehold tenure as security where lease terms extend beyond five years
- Loan terms up to 15 years on a case by case basis.
- Industry Targeted Dairy Assistance
- Young farmers wishing to progress from employee to share dairy farmer can access capped unsecured loans of up to $250 000
In addition to the eligibility criteria for the AgriGrowth Loan Scheme a young farmer will:
- Generally be no more than 45 years of age
- Preferably not previously been principal of a Farm Business and/or owned land for that purpose
- Have (or have close association with) suitable farming experience in, and/or knowledge of, the type of farming operation to be undertaken
- Be personally involved in the day to day operation of the Farm Business
- Be able to demonstrate an ability to manage financial affairs
- Be able to demonstrate, via a suitably prepared business plan, sound prospects and commercial viability
- Be able to demonstrate that, having assessed other commercially available financial assistance options and having regard to their available resources, they are in genuine need of concessional financial assistance
Applications will be ongoing until further advised by the Department of State Growth.