Farmers’ loans from the Credit Union

Cultivate farm loans coming soon in Connect Credit Union and Drogheda Credit Union

Drogheda and Connect Credit Unions are collaborating to offer an attractive package of loans to farmers in County Louth and County Meath. Their new farm lending offering will be under the Cultivate brand which they plan to launch in April of this year.

Connect Credit Union is largely a rural credit union covering Kilsaran, Stabannon, Clogherhead, Annagassan, Knockbridge, Kilkerly and Haggardstown. “This will come as welcome news to farmers, farming organisations and agribusinesses in our area” said Norman McDonnell, CEO, Connect Credit Union. “The news of the wind down of Ulster Bank and the closure of many Bank of Ireland rural branches has caused widespread concern in the Agri community” he said.

The Cultivate farm lending offered by Drogheda Credit Union and Connect Credit Union is based on a proven process which developed from a collaborate process in Galway in 2017, when four credit unions successfully piloted the Cultivate offering. Since then, further groups of Credit Unions in County Clare, Limerick, Kerry, Cork, Tipperary, Offaly and Westmeath have followed suit. Today, there are twenty-six credit unions offering Cultivate loans.

Since its introduction, Cultivate has proved very popular, with over €40M in loans issued to farmers. The Cultivate farm loans are for a wide variety of purposes, everything from working capital, cash flow, farm development, livestock purchase, farm machinery purchase, rural enterprise funding, and start up farm finance.

Credit unions are a not-for-profit movement and are all about serving their loyal membership.

Credit Unions have been embedded in local communities for over 50 years, where all profits go back to support the community and its members, and this is one of the key reasons credit unions have been consistently rated the number one organisation in customer satisfaction surveys.

“We know that farming is seen as a very important sector in the Louth /Meath region” said Tom Kiely, CEO of Drogheda Credit Union. “Our membership is in Dunleer, Trim, East Meath and the surrounding area, and of course Drogheda. We have a large farming community in our area and in addition to generating income inside the farm gate, farming is also very much the lifeblood of the rural community where every Euro earned by farmers has a multiplier effect in the rural economy” he said.

Brendan Heneghan, former Regional Manager with Teagasc, is the project manager of the Cultivate Brand. Over the coming weeks each Credit Union will host a meeting of stakeholders to get the views of farmers and the farming sector on what is important in relation to farm credit. “Going out and consulting with the stakeholders is the first and most important step in the project. The stakeholder group is made up of the farming organisations, Teagasc, Agri business’s, IFAC and other farm accountancy groups, Livestock Marts and the Farm Relief Services” he said.

The feedback from the consultation will be invaluable in identifying the needs of farmers in this region. Farmers value the face-to-face relationship and the “personal touch” a credit union has to offer where a farmer can come in and discuss his or her proposal.

The Cultivate farm loan package will offer up to €50,000 loans for a variety of purposes in line with the stakeholder/market research feedback. The term of the loan can be up to 7 years. The interest rate is 6.55% (APR 6.75%).

Farmers want to deal with people who have a knowledge of agriculture and understand farming.  Credit Union farm loan officers will participate in a bespoke 5-day course on Farm and Finance organised by Teagasc.

Information on Cultivate farm loans can be received from any of the participating credit unions.

  • Contact details:
  • Connect Credit Union, with branches in Kilsaran, Clogherhead, Annagassan, and Blackrock.
  • Email:
  • Telephone no: 042 9372400
  • Drogheda Credit Union, with branches in Drogheda, Dunleer,
  • East Meath and Trim
  • Email:
  • Telephone no: 041 9838496, Press 2 for Loan Enquiries.
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