Farmers Advised to Learn their Financial Rights
Weekly Times Now
November 23, 2011
New laws have been introduced so it is in the best interest of Victorian farmers to learn their rights regarding farm debt. The new laws will give farmers the opportunity to mediate their claims to try to reach a settlement. TurksLegal Commercial dispute partner David McCrostie said that farmers and financiers will benefit if the understand the debts covered as well as their rights and obligations.
McCrostie said, “For a start, the requirement to mediate only applies to loans taken out by farmers to conduct a farming operation and have to be secured by a mortgage over farm property, stock, crops or equipment. That means loans secured against farm assets to pay personal expenses such as school fees are not covered. If the farmer fails to respond in 21 days, the bank will be entitled to enforce the debt within three months, so observing deadlines is absolutely crucial. If the farmer accepts the invitation to meditation, the Victorian Department of Primary Industries then co-ordinates the mediation which is conducted by a qualified, impartial person agreed upon by both parties.”