Struggling farmers to get access to low-interst loans

A DEAL thrashed out between Queensland and Federal governments will finally give struggling farmers access to low-interest loans of up to $650,000.

The "in principle agreement" from the state follows months of argument as the Queensland Government told Canberra that farmers needed help, not more debt.

A deal was done allowing low interest loans to now be supplied entirely to help producers pay down debts - its original purpose was also to help increase production.

For those in northern parts of the state crippled by drought, the lower 4.5% interest rate may ease the burden caused by the difficult conditions.

The Australian Government will provide $60 million to the deal spanning two years.

Federal agriculture minister Joel Fitzgibbon said it could help farmers save up to $81,000 over five years if currently paying back loans on 7% interest.

"Reducing debt repayments in the short-term will help alleviate the pressure on farmers and provide them with breathing room to continue to run their businesses and support their families," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

State counterpart John McVeigh said the deal would be enough to help up to 150 farmers.

Queensland is the first state to make the new deal with the Federal Government.

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