Farmer-owned co-op Fram Farmers saw turnover rise by more than £15m to £195m in the financial year to 30 June 2018, helping it to deliver the highest profit in its 58-year history.
Pre-tax profit for the Suffolk-based group, which will be reinvested in the business, was £665,523 on a turnover of £195m, compared with £184,362 in 2016-17 on a turnover of £179m.
This follows what bosses describe as as an “exceptional year” for its retail subsidiary, which supplies oil and gas to the public and small businesses, contributing £464,309 of the total surplus.
It also reflects a significant increase in the percentage of business that existing members are choosing to do through the co-op, which offers purchasing, grain marketing and administrative services to its 1,200 members.
One of the strongest areas of growth has been from farmers wanting to source feed and other livestock inputs, such as animal health products.
Richard Anscombe, the chief executive, said farmers were getting significant benefits from their co-operative membership.
Across all the key products it sources on behalf of members, the co-op estimates that it is delivering farmers an average cost saving of 9.6%.
He said members had also benefited from £572,087 worth of rebates which are paid to the co-op by some ag-chem and machinery suppliers when a certain volume of business has been reached.
These rebates are then passed back to members who have bought the relevant products.
“Even the largest farming business is unlikely to be able to replicate what we provide for a very cost-effective annual fee, and consequently members who are fully committed find that they are significantly better off sourcing all their farm inputs through us,” Mr Anscombe said.
He said that in uncertain times farmers appreciated the comfort and security of belonging to a co-operative that they trusted to act in their best interests.
“We are continually benchmarking our performance against the market, and we look for ways to provide further benefits and add value to the service we provide.”