16 November 2001

ANM Group launches on line trading

By James Garner

and Shelley Wright

Scottish correspondent

A NEW £300,000 on-line auction system for livestock, machinery and other farm commodities has been launched by the Aberdeenshire-based ANM group.

The Scottish Executive has provided ANM with a maximum 40% grant under its new Processing and Marketing Scheme, worth £60,000 initially. The same amount is earmarked for subsequent development of the site if the first year proves successful. It is the first project approved under the new grant-aid scheme.

Brian Pack, ANM chief executive, says the new system will allow farmers to trade farm-to-farm, but with the benefit of the auction mechanism to ensure a fair price.

The disaster of foot-and-mouth means farmers are now much more used to using internet technology, with many having relied on it to view stock in recent months before attending video auction sales, he says.

The site is found by logging on to ANMs web-site at www.goanm.co.uk and then clicking on "on-line auctions" to find auction catalogues and bidding screens, explains Julie Maguire, ANMs on-line marketing executive.

"Its best described as a dynamic on-line tendering system – although bids are visible to all – rather than an auction in the conventional sense," she adds.

Sales are expected to last a few days, while larger items, such as whole herds of cattle can be marketed over several weeks to allow buyers an opportunity to visit the farm and view the stock.

The length of the sale period will be specified. After an initial bid, the system can then be asked to continue to bid in increments, to a limit specified by the buyer, if other buyers come into the market.

Alternatively, the system can send email updates to let a buyer know if someone else has submitted a higher bid.

Both buyers and sellers will have to register on the site. After credit checks, ANM will issue buyers with credit limits.

ANM will charge vendors a minimum of £30 to sell their goods on the site, with cattle charged at £5 a head and sheep at 50p a head. Buyers will be charged 1% commission.

"People are not altogether confident with financial transactions on the internet, so we will invoice the buyer when a sale is completed and the money will only be released to the seller when the goods have been delivered," says Mr Pack.

The venture, he adds, is very different to the failed Globalfarmers.com initiative, with ANM committing money up front rather than having to service huge borrowings.

Another main difference is existing ANM staff will operate the system, unlike Globalfarmers which had 60 employees at one stage.

Sixteen lots of livestock, including pedigree bulls, are already on sale on the site, as is suckler cow quota and some machinery. &#42

ON-LINE TRADING

&#8226 New site launched.

&#8226 Bidding process.

&#8226 Flexible options for buyers and sellers.