ATB Agriculture Loan Deferral program
By 8 June 2020 2 min read
Alberta producers have faced a raft of issues that have been ongoing since last fall’s harvest. Snow, rain and mud made it nearly impossible to finish harvest for many, until recent weeks—an issue that’s not the norm in Alberta. Producers are now in the throes of spring seeding later than average, particularly in certain parts of the province, which can cause anxiety around the crops reaching maturity by harvest time.
Of course, all of these issues have been compounded by the global COVID-19 pandemic. As the coronavirus spread across Canada in March, the lockdowns began. These lockdowns precipitated a short but sustained panic among consumers, which sparked outrageous lines at grocery stores nationwide.
The agri-food supply chain, one of the most important pillars of Canadian society, was put under extreme stress, including the cattle, dairy and potato industries. Contracts have been cancelled, milk has been dumped down the drain and animals are not being purchased to keep the supply chain moving along as normal. Alberta itself has been dealt crushing blows after COVID-19 outbreaks at both the Cargill (High River) and JBS (Brooks) meat packing plants temporarily shuttered operations.
Financial impacts on the agriculture sector
ATB’s Vice-President of Agriculture Jon Neutens understands the challenges and says the bank has been working with Albertans in the agriculture sector in tough circumstances before and that’s not about to change.
"Whether it’s in good times or in more challenging times, we are here and have payment deferral options as built-in features in specific lending and loan products. We understand every year can be unique and bring unique challenges. This is also true in light of last year’s harvest. "
Jon Neutens, ATB’s Vice-President of Agriculture
ATB's Agriculture Loan Deferral program—initially designed for the difficult fall harvest, has been extended.
“We launched the deferral program last fall on account of the challenging harvest, and it’s very relevant to the challenges of COVID-19, as well,” he says.
Payment deferral programs for producers
Payment deferral may be available if you currently have one of the following loans: Farmland Financing, Agricultural Term Loans, Equity Agri-Plan Loan, Agricultural Equipment Conditional Sales Contracts and Agricultural Equipment Leases.
Currently, many federal government business relief programs don’t necessarily fit for agriculture businesses or farm operations in the way that they would for other Alberta businesses. If you’ve been financially impacted by circumstances created by COVID-19 and need to temporarily improve your cash flow, deferring farm loan payments may be an option for you.
To determine if loan payment deferral is right for you, we recommend reviewing your cash flow statement as well as upcoming commitments. If you find that you’re unable to meet upcoming commitments or need additional working capital to maintain operations, please contact your relationship manager about the deferral program.
Through ATB’s Agriculture Loan Deferral Program, eligible customers will be able to defer their payments of principal and interest for up to 12 months on eligible products.
Read, “Managing your liquidity ratio during the crop year” for more advice on evaluating your current financial position.
If you think the ATB Agriculture Loan Deferral Program is right for you, please reach out to your relationship manager so that they can help ensure you make the best decision for you, your family and your business. If the deferral program isn’t enough and you need additional assistance with cash flow, your relationship manager can help with that, too.