Buying groups join forces
TWO of the largest farmer-buying groups in south-east England, Rother Valley Farmers and Sussex Farmers, are to merge, claiming better buying power for up to 1000 farmers in the area.
The move takes effect from Sept 1. The new group, Southern Farmers Ltd, will have an anticipated turnover of almost £12m.
The company aims to generate a minimal surplus after covering running costs. Income will be generated from a membership fee of £100/year and a small administration charge on invoices. Core business of the two groups is feeds, fertilisers and sprays, although all inputs, from paper and computers to tyres and mobile phones, can be bought.
"To give our members the best possible service the directors of both groups felt it would be better to work together from a position of strength," says company chairman Edward Barham.
"At a time when the agricultural supply trade is continuing to concentrate into the hands of fewer players, we will be able to maintain negotiating power on behalf of our members. This is particularly valuable for the small family farms which are abundant in the Rother and Weald areas. Every percentage off input costs can make a critical difference."
Southern Farmers will work closely with the local RAMSAK machinery ring which will share offices in Rolvenden, Kent. *