More than $100 million in concessional loans have been approved in the past 12 months to help young farmers buy or lease their first property, and to improve on-farm productivity.
QLD Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the 2017-18 result is the second highest amount approved under the Primary Industry Productivity Enhancement Scheme (PIPES).
PIPES is administered by the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) and provides First Start loans up to $2 million for new entrants and Sustainability loans up to $1.3 million for established producers.
Mr Furner said of the 228 loans approved in 2017-18, most were taken up by beef producers (58%), followed by sugarcane growers (17%) and grain and livestock producers (6%).
“This terrific take up of the PIPES for a second year in a row vindicates the decision made by the QLD Government to increase the lending cap on First Start and Sustainability loans,” Mr Furner said.
“This scheme not only drives demand in the rural sector, but also helps encourage the next generation of farmers to come through, which will sustain Queensland’s $20 billion agriculture industry into the future.”
Mr Furner said the highest number of loan approvals in 2017-18 occurred in the Mackay Regional Council area, followed by the North Burnett, Maranoa, Western Downs, South Burnett, Bundaberg and Toowoomba Regional Council areas.
“The average age of First Start clients approved in 2017-18 was 36 years and for Sustainability clients was 50 years.
“The QLD Government has endorsed QRIDA to provide net loan approvals of up to a further $100 million under PIPES in 2018-19 to continue to support new farmers and help boost the productivity of Queensland agriculture.”
Mr Furner said the loans have been used for a range of purposes including property purchases, predator fencing, plant and equipment, water infrastructure and drought mitigation.
“The total PIPES loan portfolio as at 30 June 2018 was almost $470 million, a 13.6% increase on the 30 June 2017 portfolio balance.
“The portfolio represents more than 1,370 Queensland primary producers currently accessing benefits under the Scheme.”
Source: QLD Government