AF Group pays out £800,000 member rebate

A Norfolk-based buying group has returned £800,000 to its members in its largest-ever crop protection rebate.

AF Group, formerly known as Anglia Farmers, buys £275m worth of inputs and services on behalf of its 3,500-strong, UK-wide membership each year.

Products such as fertiliser, pesticides and machinery are bought in bulk, allowing the group to negotiate a discounted price. The discount on the market value is then returned to group members who bought the input, as a contractual rebate.

See also: Biggest ever rebate at AF Group as profits jump 76%

The latest crop protection payment follows a rebate of £1.6m at the end of the financial year.

AF Group said payment was due to its increased financial strength following streamlining and efficiency improvements.

The group’s chief executive, Jon Duffy, highlighted the importance of farming businesses taking every opportunity to strengthen their position in the face of Brexit uncertainty.

“Brexit continues to cause uncertainty, but there are aspects of a business that can be controlled, Mr Duffy said.

Call to improve risk management

His comments came as the buying group launched a report on managing risk for the dairy industry.

Mr Duffy said there was a huge amount of uncertainty, particularly if a no-deal Brexit went ahead.

“Despite the ambiguity we all face, there are clear actions farmers can take right now to ensure they’re well-positioned, whatever comes next.”

The report challenges UK farmers and other agribusinesses to examine their internal practices and sets out a number of opportunities to minimise risk.

“Continued success, even during difficult times, is achievable with stronger supply chain relationships and planning.

“By taking stock of where you are and taking the right steps, it’s possible to survive – and thrive – even during the unsettled times we face.”