Business Interruption Loans for the Agricultural Sector

Thankfully, at present, Agriculture in general is possibly the least affected business sector, and who knows, might even have a positive effect longer term in people seeing the value of the ‘farmer’?

This said, it is still going to affect most businesses in some way, be it the potential closure of livestock markets, already very heavily controlled, or where there has been diversification on the farmstead, primarily holiday lets or camping sites. Another big consideration, along with Brexit, is the availability of workers if you have a labour intensive, or seasonal, business.

Whilst unfortunately I feel we are still in the early days of this unique situation with news coming out thick and fast from various sources, as well as the Government announcing different advice, seemingly daily, if you are worried, or already having cash flow concerns, please call your existing funding provider who should be able to help in the short-term – they have the CBILS (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme) government backed loans to call on, as well as most of the High St. Banks allowing 3-6 month capital repayment holidays on existing loans; most are also accommodating working capital overdraft increases, fee free, during this period.

Please do visit these websites for additional information:

https://www.nfuonline.com/news/coronavirus-updates-and-advice/

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19

Further things to consider are:

Succession Plans

Have you reviewed your succession plans recently, has this affected them and do they need re-viewing again? It is highly anticipated that ‘allowances’ will be looked at following this – HMRC will need to replace all of its help (money) they have given out in these unprecedented times!

Wills

As above, have you reviewed your Will recently? If not, we urge you to do so to ensure the necessary arrangements are in place should the worse happen. An issue that has arisen in the current situation is that a will needs to be signed by two independent individuals, which is very challenging logistically.

Funding

If you are approaching your existing finance providers, or need help in doing so, we are happy to help provide the various information they will require, through your normal accounts Manager, together with our specialist in-house Banking and Finance Team (rob.bewes@baldwinsgroup.com).

Typical questions the funders will be asking:

  1. What’s the purposes of the request (short-term cash flow/longer term cash injection), and how will the funds be specifically used?
  2. How will the funds be used to address the cash shortfall caused by COVID19?
  3. How much do you require?
  4. Number of employees?
  5. Copy of last 2/3 years annual accounts, any additional Management Information, aged debtors/creditors?
  6. Projections, something we can help, how is this going to affect the overall business going forward?
  7. Completed assets and liabilities statements.
  8. What changes have already been made, or potentially going to be made, that will help with the present situation that COVID19 puts you in?

Please also bear in mind that the Banks are struggling to keep up with demand at present, so normal turnaround times will be extended significantly, this in turn is reducing their appetite to look at new to Bank businesses, at present, whilst concentrating on their existing customers.

Another concern we have is that if a new valuation is required, how will they logistically deal with this, as no Valuers’ are going out at present?

It is worthy of a mention that if a business was finding it tough, and was unviable before the COVID-19 crisis, then it is unlikely that the funding support measures will be forthcoming.