Category: Coronavirus Pandemic

Yorkshire Machinery Finance for Farms

From tractors, headers or balers, if it’s part of a working farm Richmond Asset Finance can finance it! At Richmond Asset Finance we have access to an experienced panel of lenders so we can bring you only the best finance options for your farm machinery and business.

Agriculture is very diverse and we also understand that that some farmers have seasonal income, so we can tailor seasonal loan structures for certain applicants if the situation calls for it.

We also understand that a 1998 tractor might still be in good working condition, so older farm machinery can be financed from both private sellers and dealers. Simply ask us for more details.

We can offer agriculture finance loans for the following vehicles and equipment:

  • Tractors
  • Harvesters
  • Spraying Equipment
  • Spreaders
  • Seeders
  • Offset Disc
  • Balers
  • Irrigation
  • Telehandlers

Have farm equipment or machinery that’s not on the list? Call us and we’ll be happy to help: 0113 288 3277

‘Bounce back’ plan for agriculture, food and drink industry launched

The Government have announced that they will be supporting the agricultural, food and drink industry in the coming months following the COVID Pandemic.

The agriculture, food and drink industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing industry and plays a vital role in the UK’s food supply chain, which contributed £121 billion to the UK economy in 2018 – supporting around 4 million jobs. In 2019, UK food, feed and drink exports were worth £23.7bn – up 4.9% from 2018.

The measures introduced today will support producers, manufacturers and agri-tech companies across the food supply chain, from farm to fork, and has been developed with insight from the devolved administrations, trade associations, businesses and DIT’s regional and international networks.

The UK agriculture, food and drink industry has been significantly impacted by Coronavirus. Although it has done well to adapt, exports have been hit and the Government is committed to supporting this most important of industries get back into international markets and start growing market share once again.

For more information regarding the Governments plan, visit the GOV website HERE.

How has the Coronavirus affected bridging finance?

Surveyors are being extremely cautious

Even where a valuation can be done, surveyors are being very cautious. Whilst they will be producing the usual figures for an open market valuation, 30 day, 90 day and 180 day sale, they may also add a revised figure to allow for the likelihood that prices will fall after the pandemic is over.  Some surveyors have even taken to writing, ‘this valuation cannot be relied upon’, on their reports. This makes the report worthless to many bridging lenders, who aren’t prepared to lend on the basis of this type of valuation.

Social distancing causing problems with witnessing legal documents

There are currently problems with getting legal documents witnessed by a solicitor as most are now working from home and not seeing clients face to face. 

Staffing shortages are affecting lenders too

Lenders have also been impacted by the requirement for staff to work from home wherever possible and have had to set up systems to allow staff to work remotely.  

Staffing numbers have been hit by those needing to self-isolate, which has affected lenders’ abilities to deal with new cases.

Bridging Finance during the Covid19 Pandemic

How has the Coronavirus affected bridging finance?

Some bridging lenders have stopped lending

A number of bridging lenders have stopped providing bridging loans during the current Coronavirus pandemic. Many lenders have announced that they are temporarily stopping all new lending or restricting the size and types of loan that they offer.

Some current lending applications have been cancelled

Some lenders have cancelled on-going applications and have even pulled current offers where contracts have not been exchanged.  In some cases lenders are requiring customers to start the application process again from scratch.

Those still lending have reduced loan to values and loan sizes

Those lenders who are still offering bridging finance are being very cautious and have taken actions such as reducing their maximum loan sizes.  Maximum gross loan to values (LTVs) are down from 80% to around 60 to 65%.

Small businesses boosted by bounce back loans

The government have announced its intention to offer bounce back loans to small businesses. The key terms of these loans are:

  • businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days.
  • loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.

Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders.

Rishi Sunak said the new Bounce Back Loans scheme, which will provide loans of up to £50,000, would help bolster the existing package of support available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The scheme has been designed to ensure that small firms who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance in a matter of days, and comes alongside the £6 billion awarded in business grants, supporting 4 million jobs through the job retention scheme and generous tax deferrals supporting hundreds of thousands of firms.

The government, which has been consulting extensively with business representatives about the design of the new scheme, will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

The loans will be easy to apply for through a short, standardised online application. The loan should reach businesses within days- providing immediate support to those that need it as easily as possible.

‘Whole new business’

Farmers innovate to get food from field to plate during the coronavirus pandemic. A report from Reuters has explained the struggles that farmers currently face.

New recruits for seasonal work

Finding seasonal workers is a priority in Europe, where spring harvests are at risk because the usual vast armies of migrant labourers cannot leave home as all of the boarders are currently closed.

Spain, the European Union’s biggest fruit and vegetable exporter, has responded by allowing the unemployed to take farm jobs while keeping welfare payments, and has extended work permits for those migrants already in the country.

France has mobilised 15,000 French workers idled by the crisis so far to help offset a potential shortfall of 200,000 foreign labourers this spring. 

It has been suggested that farmers were frustrated that the new recruits lacked skills or had quickly quit. 

Poland, meanwhile, is struggling without Ukrainian seasonal labourers and the Russian Agriculture Ministry said prisoners might help out on farms in the absence of Central Asian workers. 

Germany, Britain and Ireland are allowing companies to bring in trained workers from Romania and other European Union states on charter flights with quarantine measures. 

U.S. President Donald Trump has exempted such migrants from a temporary curb on immigration during the crisis. 

Elsewhere, Nigeria’s federal government is making identity cards so farm workers can move freely during a national lockdown after many were stopped by police. 

Iraq’s Agriculture Ministry said farm workers were exempted from curfew measures and farmers were allowed to move harvesting machinery around the country. 

To keep transport links running smoothly, Brazilian toll-road operator CCR SA has distributed more than 1,000 food and hygiene kits a day to truck drivers as service outlets are closed. 

In Kenya, Rubi Ranch has been sending avocados to Europe by ship due to limited air freight capacity, as airlines have grounded aircraft and cut off the company’s usual supply route.

Farmers cannot be the forgotten heroes of the coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has amplified the uncertainty and fragility of the conditions within which farmers operate.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused us all to become acutely aware of our own mental health, as a “new normal” has emerged. In the UK, there is sharp focus on the mental health of keyworkers supporting the nation in an array of fields such as the NHS, social care and education, but one industry’s contribution that should not be overlooked is the farming and agricultural workforce.

Seasonal labour

Concerns around levels of seasonal labour also predates the pandemic, and concerns have been raised by those within the industry throughout the Brexit debate. UK seasonal farming has been chronically understaffed since the UK voted to Leave and the value of the pound fell. As has been widely documented, an estimated 70,000 seasonal workers are required throughout the year, and around 90 percent of those are from outside the UK. But with restrictions on travel due to coronavirus, farmers in the agricultural, horticultural and dairy industries in particular are reporting severe labour issues.

The Government recently launched its “Pick for Britain” campaign to mobilise a land army of British pickers to help fill farm vacancies. This did not come without concerns from farmers, as many seasonal workers are normally returnees, arriving at the start of the season fully trained in the necessary skills and machinery to hit the ground running. By stark contrast, training new UK recruits can be costly and initially result in lower productivity. Furthermore, recent reports note that, following tens of thousands of initial sign-ups, just 112 people were hired by UK farmers last week. Many applicants cited that they could not commit to the full length of the contract, farms were too far away, or they had caring responsibilities and therefore could not work long hours.

Change in consumer demand 

Changes in consumer demand during the coronavirus pandemic, with a move from out-of-home eating to more meals eaten at home – an estimated 500 million more per week – has resulted in some farmers losing their market overnight. This is down to difficulties in redirecting food produce once destined to the foodservice sector, as it been noted that consumers often wont replicate the meals that they would have had out of home, and there are issues with repackaging foods for retail. The impact on dairy farmers has been widely documented with videos of many having to pour away milk – an estimated 1m litres worth – along with the effects on the meat and horticulture sectors. Further to this, farmers have been faced with an increase in the theft of animals by criminals seeking to “cash in” on public concerns about food shortages.

To compound the challenges, the instruction by government to close B&B accommodation and farm cafés amongst other restrictions, and the subsequent loss in public demand, has also impacted farmers who have diversified their sources of income. These diverse streams of income are often vital to small farms’ survival, as many do not make a profit from their farming activity alone, so the financial consequences of this collapse will undoubtedly impact many in the sector.