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Agribusiness

The ABA includes regional banks and rural specialist banks, as well as banks with dedicated regional and agribusiness teams.

Agriculture and the recovery

  • Lending to agricultural businesses is at a record high, with $91.5 billion credit outstanding at the end of August 2021, a growth of $6.9 billion from $84.6 billion in August 2020.
  • The value of farm production is forecast to reach a record $73 billion in 2021-2022.
  • Winter crop production 21/22 is forecast to reach the 3rd highest on record.

Growth in Australian Agribusiness

  • The total value of agricultural, fisheries and forestry export has risen from $16 billion in 1988-89 to a forecast $58 billion in 2021-22.
  • All crops have risen from 35% of total value in 1988-89 to 54% of total value in 2021-22 (440% growth)
  • All livestock has risen from 15% of total value in 1988-89 to 26% of total value in 2021-22 (529% growth).
  • All wool has fallen from 38% of total value in 1988-89 to 6% of total value in 2021-22 (44% drop).

The Impact of COVID-19 on Agribusiness

  • Despite growth in Agribusiness, COVID-19 and its associated economic impacts contributed to a decline in some agricultural exports.
  • Agricultural exports fell $399 million, (0.8 per cent) in 2020/21 to $49.6 billion, the lowest level since 2015/16.
  • Weaker demand was a key theme across many commodities in 2020/21, softened by the economic downturn and restrictions on dining in foodservice outlets. This was evident in lower average export prices for red meat, wine, wool, seafood and horticultural products.

“Sustainable, productive and profitable farms are a shared goal which farmers and lenders can work together to achieve.”

NFF CEO Tony Mahar

Banking and Industry

The ABA and the National Farmers Federation (NFF) hold regular forums to discuss issues affecting farmers across Australia. This ensures that banks and farmers are working together on key challenges such as drought and climate change transition.

“Agriculture is a critical part of the Australian economy. Banks worked closely with the NFF through the drought and this ongoing dialogue will be crucial as the nation recovers from COVID-19.″

ABA CEO Anna Bligh

Report Agriculture in Australia: Activity and Financing (Sep 2016)


Rural Assistance

Don’t tough it out on your own

Whatever the cause, there are practical ways your bank can help you out of financial difficulty. Bushfire, drought, flood, plague or COVID-19 – contact your bank as soon as you can to access a range of services.

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Rural Financial Counselling Service

Call the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) on 1300 771 741 if you are experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship. The RFCS is available to farmers, fishers, foresters, and related small business owners.

Locate an RFCS provider

Banks can help when bushfires hit
National Recovery & Resilience Agency

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring people impacted by natural disasters and drought get the support and advice they need to recover, including initiatives to reduce the risk and impact of future events.

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Farm and Business Support

Farm Management Deposits (FMD)

The FMD Scheme assists primary producers to deal more effectively with fluctuations in cash flows. It is designed to increase the self-reliance of Australian primary producers by helping them manage their financial risk and meet their business costs in low-income years by building up cash reserves.

The scheme allows eligible primary producers to set aside pre-tax income which they can draw on in future years when they need it, such as for restocking or replanting when conditions start to improve.

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Regional Investment Corporation (RIC)


More than 2,800 total loans have been approved by the RIC, valued at over $3 billion as at 31 August 2021. Loans are made across several categories and amounts.

  • AgriStarter Loans: There are two kinds of AgriStarter loans – first farmer loans and succession loans. Up to $2 million.
  • Farm Investment Loans: You can apply for this loan if you solely or mainly sell products into supply chains that are interstate or outside Australia, or plan to in the future. Up to $2 million.
  • Drought Loans: Eligible to farm business owners. The Drought loan eligibility criteria has been updated to remove the requirement for applicants to demonstrate that they’re located in an ‘eligible area’. Up to $2 million.
  • AgBiz Drought Loans: Eligible to drought-affected small business. You can only apply for this loan if your small business is currently or has been supplying goods or services relating to primary production to farm businesses in an affected area. Up to $500,000.
  • Plantation Loans: Funding begins in 2021-22. The purpose of the Plantation Loan will be to encourage new plantations and replanting bushfire damaged plantations. The Plantation Loan will support the forest industries goal to increase domestic wood supply by planting a billion new plantation trees over the next decade.

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The Future of Farming

Agribusiness Innovation
Innovation Grants

Innovation g​rants give farmers, fishers, groups and businesses more tools to implement sustainable practices, reduce farm costs and build productivity.

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Carbon Farming
Carbon Farming Initiative

The Emissions Reduction Fund provides opportunities for farmers and land managers to participate in emissions reduction and carbon sequestration (capture and storage) projects.

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Agribusiness Science
Science and Innovation Awards

The Science Awards encourage young scientists, researchers and innovators with original projects that aim to keep Australia’s rural industries sustainable and profitable.

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