The average milk price has fallen by 19 per cent over the past year, with favourable conditions in many parts of the world boosting supply at a time when demand has eased. And with additional issues such as the ongoing Russian trade embargo, many dairy farmers are going through a challenging time.
NatWest and RBS are proactively engaging with customers in the sector to understand how they are reacting and how the bank can help. The bank’s dedicated Agricultural Teams are also working closely with the National Farmers Union (NFU), milk buyers and other farmers’ organisations.
NatWest and RBS have a long history of working with the agricultural sector, with over 200 dedicated Agricultural Managers based across the UK.
And while the current situation for dairy farmers is difficult, the bank is keen to emphasise that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Roddy McLean, Director of Agriculture for Commercial and Private Banking, explained: “Despite the current challenges, the longer term prospects of dairy still look good as demand is set to increase in the future. We are therefore looking to support our customers through this trying period wherever we can until prices take an upturn.
“We understand that our customers need some help in the short to medium term. This might take the form of an overdraft extension, rescheduling of loans or possibly a capital repayment holiday.
“But we can’t do this alone and that’s why we’re urging any customer who thinks they might need support to come and talk to us. Our door is open and we’ll look at each customer’s individual situation and work with them to arrive at the best solution for them.”
Sian Davies, Chief Dairy Advisor at the NFU, added: “Many of our members are experiencing tough times due to the current state of the dairy market. We’ve been discussing the situation with RBS, who have been keeping us informed about the support they are offering.
“We would also encourage dairy farmers to tackle any financial challenges as soon as possible, as there are ways in which they can be helped through this difficult period.”