The increasing need to meet compliance costs has led ASB
Bank to launch a low-cost ''rural environmental compliance
loan''. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
The increasing need for farmers to meet compliance costs
as they expand their operations has led the ASB Bank to launch
a low-cost ''rural environmental compliance loan''.
ASB rural general manager Mark Heer told the Otago Daily
Times the funding option was to help farmers get the
balance right between productivity and environmental
The new product was aimed at farmers looking to invest
on-farm to upgrade their environmental compliance systems.
''ASB won't be the solution but we want to be part of the
solution. We recognise the farming sector is the driving
force of the New Zealand economy and that it is important
that New Zealand's farmers get the balance right between
productivity and environmental sustainability.''
If farmers had taken out the loan last week, the interest
rate would have been 3.86%, the cost of the funds. The rate
would be variable and would rise or fall with market costs,
Mr Heer said.
Loans were available to New Zealand farmers for environmental
purposes up to a maximum of $200,000 and a maximum five-year
Mr Heer, who worked in Dunedin with the Rural Bank 25 years
ago, said the growing middle class in Asia had moved towards
the Western high-protein diet and that created opportunities
for the rural sector to provide value-added agricultural
Agriculture remained an important part of the New Zealand
economy, he said.
''Increasing value-added exports will have a positive impact
across all of New Zealand but it provides challenges through
the impact on the environment. We have to get the balance
The loan was developed in response to feedback from ASB's
rural customers, he said.
''Farmers consistently tell us they are doing their best to
ensure their farms are operating to the highest environmental
standards. However, the reality is that there can be
considerable costs associated with upgrading systems,
including the fencing of waterways, which are all part of
operating in an environmentally responsible farm.''
At the same time, local government regulations for effluent
management, nitrate leaching and water use on farms had been
tightening, so farmers had to ensure they were compliant, or
Farmers were facing all those pressure while at the same time
trying to focus on the productivity and profitability of
their business, Mr Heer said.
On the web: asb.co.nz/comply