By Farmers Weekly staff

FARMERS First, a new umbrella company created to raise cash for Farmers Ferry and Farmers Fresh, will be launched later this month.

“We are looking at areas for further expansion throughout Europe and need to raise more funding in order to do so.

“It will also give producers a further opportunity to invest in the business,” says group marketing director Mike Gooding.

Farmers Ferry sister company Farmers Fresh, launched last month to capture on-the-hook trade, has got off to a good start with significant orders from France and Switzerland.

The plant, based at the former Snelsons abattoir near Kenilworth, Warwickshire, will be in full production by 17 April.

Farmers First will enable the two operating companies to invest in areas such as developing the meat plant, traceability and developing new markets, as well as lobbying MAFF over key issues like the authorisation of livestock journeys.

The new holding company should be operational by mid-August. The prospectus is being drawn up and shares should be on offer through the show season.

“It is our intention to offer shares to the original donors to Farmers Ferry at a concessionary rate,” says Mr Gooding.