Commonwealth and NAB offering farmers Agri Green Loans for environmental initiatives

Melody Labinsky
By Melody Labinsky
November 21 2021 - 10:00pm
Queensland cattle producers Melinee and Robert Leather, Barfield Station, Banana, will receive the first NAB Agri Green Loan as part of a pilot program.

Low-rate loans are now available to support producers looking to implement environmental initiatives on-farm.

Two of Australia's biggest banks, NAB and Commonwealth, have pilot programs aimed at supporting agribusinesses to reduce net emissions, make their properties more resilient to climate variability, and enhance natural capital.



CBA Group business banking executive Mike Vacy-Lyle said the eligibility criteria covers a broad range of sustainability practices, such as projects to reduce emissions, sequester more carbon, improve soil health, promote biodiversity and vegetation cover, and protect waterways.

"We are excited to launch this pilot that will offer participants funding, at discounted rates, to invest in eligible initiatives that enhance both natural resources and climate resilience for the future," Mr Vacy-Lyle said.

"From planting shelter belts of trees, to water use efficiency projects, we want to support customers who are adapting to the changing climate and protecting the environment in which they operate.

"An important part of the loan will be verification with the customer that the funds are used for defined, eligible purposes."

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Victoria's Van Den Goor family are the first to take up an Agri Green Loan with the Commonwealth Bank.

The Van Den Goors operate horticultural enterprise Katunga Fresh, which was established in 2003.

The family arrived from Holland and purchased a 1200 square metre glasshouse and have expanded their operation to 21 hectares of glasshouses.

They are one of the leading producers of truss tomatoes in Australia and will use the loan to invest in the energy efficiency of their glasshouses.

Pete Van Den Goor said they were pleased CBA actively supports their sustainability plans to become net zero carbon.

"The great thing about this project is that it means we are generating operating cost savings while reducing our impact on the environment. It is win-win for us," he said.

Queensland producers Melinee and Robert Leather will receive the first NAB Agri Green Loan.

The Leathers run 4000 head of cattle across 14,000 hectares at Banana and in the North Burnett.

They will use the loan to reduce the emissions associated with cattle production and increase soil carbon storage on their Banana property, Barfield Station.

The Leathers have previously received recognition for their on-farm biosecurity practices.

Ms Leather said the loan would help them to showcase how productive cattle grazing can go hand in hand with addressing climate challenges.



"During the next 10 years we want to show how our biodiversity, water quality and farm productivity is improving and all while demonstrating that we can be carbon neutral too," she said.

NAB regional and agribusiness executive Julie Rynski said NAB's customers were looking for support when it comes to financing initiatives to lift their environmental credentials and build resilience.

"The investment the Leathers are making is a great example of how farmers can improve sustainability, resilience and long-term profitability," Ms Rynski said.

"We all need to work together to identify and support these opportunities to ensure the long-term success of Australia's agriculture sector.

"The loan is an example of the innovation we are driving across the bank to help customers reduce emissions and be more sustainable."

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Melody Labinsky

Melody Labinsky

National machinery and agtech writer

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