Growers to lobby banks over credit squeeze

Grower leaders met with leading banks this week to starkly spell out how the financial crisis is squeezing the industry.

NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond queried banks' tightening of access to credit at his head-to-head with senior executives in London.

Raymond said growers faced big pressures from input bills and market pressures, and many were flummoxed at rising borrowing costs at a time of falling base rates.

"Farmers are likely to face increases in working-capital needs as they deal with cost pressures from inputs and regulation, combined with lower commodity prices."

All growers and farmers would be looking to banks "more than ever" to help them through the difficult period, he said.

"We agreed on the importance of good communication. It is not easy for farmers to understand why some banks have taken a much more risk-averse view recently."

Raymond insisted farming would remain one of the "best customers for British banks" and said growing demand for food made the long-term picture positive.

The talks followed an NFU survey on banking behaviour, which remains open until 31 December. Visit: http://www.nfusurveys.co.uk/banks/.


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