The Jones family are first-generation farmers from Katanning in the Great Southern Region of Western Australia, who say a Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) Drought Loan has been the lifeline they needed to manage through the drought.
The Joneses represent one of the many successful RIC applicants in Western Australia with the RIC approving more than $50 million in loans in the state to date as of the end of March 2021.
Graham and Lorna Jones started farming in Katanning seven years ago, initially as a cropping-only operation in the first few years before diversifying into export hay. Graham said for the first time since they started, their dams are dry and they’ve used money saved by their RIC loan to diversify their income and increase their water storage.
“We cropped for the first three to four years and that’s all we did, now we’ve moved into sheep, and over the last two years into export-quality hay, but it meant a whole new scale of machines,” Graham said.
“To see that the RIC was offering something specifically for farmers to reduce that day-to-day repayment debt by means of low interest was a lifeline for us.
“It meant we could diversify immediately instead of sitting around for five years hoping for good crops and we’ve already benefited from that.”
To improve water storage on their farm, the Joneses bought a 120,000-litre water tank and invested in a second block of land 10 kilometres down the road. This block is better suited to natural water collection, with a valley and two separate dams.
“We’ve got water sitting in those dams, whereas we’ve got nothing on the rest of this farm,” Graham said.
“That has been made possible by the RIC loan,” Lorna said. “The RIC loan means we can improve our farm and hopefully secure our future here.
“We can build that little bit and expand a little bit. It really all comes down to the RIC loan making that possible.”
RIC CEO Bruce King said it was pleasing to see the RIC loans building a stronger regional Australia through affordable finance options for farm businesses.
“The Jones family is a great example of how the savings from a RIC loan can be used to reinvest in a farm business to not only make it more drought resilient, but also diversify their income and create a stronger farm business for the future,” he said.
To learn more about the Jones family visit https://www.ric.gov.au/case-studies/low-interest-lifeline-first-generat…