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A recent article by Sarina Locke of ABC Rural reported that Rural businesses in dairy farming regions are facing financial hardship as farmers struggle to pay their bills, leaving huge unsecured debts.

As part of her research she interviewed Chris Howard, (RFCC with AgBiz Assist), to gain his perspective on the situation

Chris explained that eligible farmers are able to receive help from the Rural Financial Counselling Service to access government benefits through Farm Household Allowance, and to apply for concessional loans with low interest rates.

The Rural Financial Counselling Service has been helping dairy farmers plan their payments and communicate that plan to local businesses they owe money to.

Chris went on to say that he was concerned about the level of unsecured debt and predicted that some farmers would not be able to survive in the industry and would choose to exit.

The ABC Rural report goes on to say that "... the the trickle-down effect of last year's dairy crisis has been strongly felt in regional towns and local businesses in Victoria and Tasmania.

Some farming families, who were left owing thousands of dollars when processors slashed the milk price and forced them to pay back money, have become reliant on charity handouts.

Rural shops and service providers have been hit hard as farmers' bills have gone unpaid and business plunges into decline as spending dries up ..."

According to figures from government agency ABARES, in the 2016-17 financial year the average dairy farm owed banks $937,600.

Critically however there is no record of the level of unsecured debt owed by farmers to local businesses and suppliers.

You can read the full ABC Rural article at


Call 1300 834 775 to find out what assistance we may be able to provide you, or make an appointment with one of our experienced Rural Financial Counsellors.

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Rural Financial Counselling Service Victoria - North East.

102 Hume Street

Wodonga VIC 3689

PHONE: 1300 834 775


FAX: (02) 6100 6123