How a father and son operation made the switch to dairy

Maurice Cogan and his son Robert secured a Cultivate loan to help make improvements to their farm.
How a father and son operation made the switch to dairy

Maurice Cogan and his son Robert

Maurice Cogan and his son Robert had been beef and tillage farming for many years but when they started to plan for the future they realised that dairy farming was where they wanted to take the family farm. To help make this plan a reality, they turned to their local credit union and applied for a Cultivate loan.

Cultivate is an initiative created by a group of 26 credit unions to provide short to medium-term loan finance built specifically around the growing needs of Irish farmers. In these uncertain times, Cultivate is a farmer-friendly finance option for farmers seeking unsecured funding up to €50,000 over seven years.  Given the uncertainty with beef and tillage prices, the Cogan family felt a move into dairy was their best option especially with the next generation coming through and the growth in demand in the dairy industry.

With Robert, a young farmer who is progressive and ambitious involved, they decided to invest in a meal bin and a slurry tank while also making improvements to their existing milking parlour.

To support some of these activities, Maurice and John turned to their local credit union and availed of a Cultivate loan. The application process for Maurice and Robert worked really well; in their own words “From start to finish, the whole process was very straight forward. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the help of the Cultivate loan”.

Finance from people who understand farming

Equally as important for Robert was the level of understanding and support available at his local credit union in relation to the needs of their business “The ambition is to farm into the future by increasing the size of the herd and continually investing and improving the facilities on the farm. Moving to dairy requires a very big investment. The credit union understood our business and our needs”. With the help of the Cultivate loan, in June 2020 Maurice and Robert fully transitioned into dairy farming. They are now milking 49 cows and have ambitions to grow their herd significantly in the coming months and years ahead.

Having gone through the full process of applying and securing a Cultivate loan, Maurice’s words of advice reflect a very positive experience: “I would highly recommend that farmers wanting to make improvements to their farm consider applying for a Cultivate loan”.

Unsecured loans 

As a farmer-friendly finance option, loan repayment schedules are available up to a period of seven years, with the flexibility to repay at times that make sense for the individual farmer. Cultivate loans are unsecured, and there is no need to be an existing credit union member to avail of a loan.  Farmers can sign up in their local participating credit union office and be eligible to apply for a Cultivate loan immediately.

Maurice Cogan and his son Robert
Maurice Cogan and his son Robert

Cultivate loans are used by farmers like Maurice and Robert Cogan for a wide range of investments including:

  • Stocking or working capital 
  • Upgrading farm buildings and facilities
  • Purchasing new or second-hand machinery
  • Undertaking farm improvement works such as fencing and reclamation.

Cultivate loans are offered by 26 credit unions in Ireland. A full list of participating credit unions is available at

Normal life may be on hold, but farming life continues. Like farmers, credit unions are here for the long haul. If you need a flexible farmer-friendly loan, call FREEPHONE 1800 839 999, pop into your participating local credit union today, or visit to learn more.

Loans are subject to approval. Terms and conditions apply. If you do not meet the repayments on your loan, your account will go into arrears.

This may affect your credit rating which may limit your ability to access credit in the future. The cost of your repayments may increase. Credit unions in Ireland are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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