Atlas Agriculture and Framlingham Farmers have finally merged to form the UK’s largest farmer-owned purchasing and marketing group.

The idea was first mooted around four years ago and the newly-formed AtlasFram Group has over 1000 members farming 243,000ha (600,000 acres) across East Anglia, the southeast, East Midlands, southwest and northwest.

Turnover is put at more than £100 million and the company employs 44 staff from its headquarters in Framlingham, Suffolk. It is supervised by a board of 11 directors, including five former directors of Framlingham Farmers and four from Atlas Agriculture, plus chief executive Ian Watson and chairman Robert Rous.

Mr Watson said the merger not only helped cut costs, but the increased scale also meant the business was better-positioned to compete in a changing marketplace.

“Former members of both businesses will already be aware of the significant benefits of collaboration and it is their continued commitment which gives us our strength, influence and negotiating power.”

Non-member price comparisons conducted by the AtlasFram Group found that typical savings averaged 5% on fuel, 8% on agrochemicals, 10% on seed and 12% on feed. Those who used the Group’s Pool Marketing schemes also benefited by up to £12/t, it said.

Mr Rous added: “With the agricultural supply industry continuing to move into the hands of fewer manufacturers and suppliers, it will be increasingly important for farmers to belong to a strong purchasing and marketing organisation which can negotiate the best possible deals on their behalf, yet still deliver the personal service they expect. That is the goal we have set for the AtlasFram Group.”

Company background:

Framlingham Farmers

  • Established 1960
  • 750 members farming over 121,000ha (300,000 acres)
  • Total of £70m agricultural inputs purchased annually
  • Specialist marketing department handled 180,000t grain annually

Atlas Agriculture

  • Formed in 2004 following the merger of Cambridge Farmers and West Essex Farmers (both had 40-year history in agricultural supply industry)
  • 270 members farming around 109,000ha (270,000 acres) in eastern England
  • Based at Dullingham, Suffolk