NAB has awarded its first Future Farmers loan to a 27-year-old Wimmera mixed farmer in Nhill, western Victoria.
Launched in January, the NAB Future Farmers program provides more flexible loan structures including potential for reduced equity requirements and a longer repayment period, on a case-by-case basis.
Brad Keller, recipient of NAB’s first loan, grew up on his family’s cropping and sheep property at Nhill but left the farm at 18 to work full-time as a shearer, gradually saving enough to start leasing land and running his own cropping and livestock operation.
“The Future Farmers program certainly made it a lot easier to get a loan for a younger person, but you’ve still got to be able to service the loan and make the land pay for itself,” Keller said. “You need to keep working hard to keep building savings because it’s unbelievable how quickly land prices are rising.”
Since 1990, the average number of farms under $500,000 has decreased by 54%, while the average value of farms, including land and fixed improvements, has increased by over 220%, according to AgSurf data from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences.
Julie Rynski, NAB executive regional and agribusiness, said Future Farmers was established to support the next generation of farmers like Keller.
“Having enough equity has traditionally been a challenge for young farmers wanting to buy land,” Rynski said. “NAB Future Famers reduces equity requirements and allows us to back young farmers like Mr Keller. NAB is taking a longer-term view of the lending application. First-time farmers will have a dedicated and specialised local agribusiness banker who will be assigned to help with the right support and banking services. Successful applicants like Mr Keller will have access to online business planning tips, tools, and calculators to help with business establishment and management and build financial literacy.”