5 July 2000
Farmers First claims massive backing
By Tamarind Davidson
SUPPORT for Farmers First, the holding company for Farmers Fresh and Farmers Ferry, has been overwhelming, claim its directors.
The company was created to raise cash for Farmers Fresh, specialising in on-the-hook trade, and Farmers Ferry which specialises in live animal exports.
A 4.4 million share offer was launched at the Royal Show on Monday (4 July).
“We have seen no end of farmers here at the Royal who have either written out cheques or taken application forms,” said Mike Gooding, group marketing director for Farmers First.
At a meeting held at the companys abattoir in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, the atmosphere was one of confidence and enthusiasm for the venture.
“This is a very important step in the right direction and an opportunity to take a hold of our own industry,” said John Thorley, chief executive of the National Sheep Association.
“We have been dictated to by supermarkets for far too long. If we dont take this step forward they will continue to do so.
“The success will come from farmers working together and it is fundamental to the rural economy.”
The company needs to raise a minimum of 400,000 by 6 August and early indications show that this target will easily be met.
Of those producers present at the meeting on Tuesday night, most had either made a donation or were seriously thinking about doing so.
“The industry needs it very badly and this is definitely the best way of marketing our stock out of the UK,” said Gwyn Williams, from Macclesfield, Cheshire.
“It will generate increased competition which will see an increase in producer returns.
“Welsh Quality Lamb should certainly think about putting all their resources behind the venture.”
The main objective of the business is to boost producer returns through the development of new markets and understanding customer requirements.
“We are not here to make a profit. The industry is in such a state that something drastic has to be done.
“We have set the trend and will be leading the way forward,” said John Lloyd, director of Farmers First.