Anglia Farmers boss makes pledge to members after group turnover boost

PUBLISHED: 13:11 12 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:07 23 June 2017

Anglia Farmers new group chief executive Jon Duffy. Picture: Angela Sharpe

Anglia Farmers new group chief executive Jon Duffy. Picture: Angela Sharpe

Angela Sharpe Photography

The new chief executive of an agricultural co-operative has pledged to put its members first under his stewardship.

AF Group, which comprises Anglia Farmers and its four subsidiaries, saw its turnover increased by £3.3m to £234.2m in the year to January 31, with an operating surplus of £760,360.

The rise comes against falling commodity prices in the agricultural sector in 2016, which are now starting to rally.

Chief executive Jon Duffy, who joined AF Group in March, has pledged to return “real value” to Anglia Farmers’ 3,100 members, who farm more than one million hectares across the UK.

The society generated revenue of £230.1m in the financial year and recorded a net surplus of £255,413 after payments to members.

Mr Duffy said: “AF members are in a unique position being both customers and owners of the business.

“I am clear in my approach that AF needs to add real value to our members in the shape of saving time and cost. We’ll do this by sourcing the right product or service, with the right advice, delivered smoothly and efficiently with ease of administration.

“Collective buying power is essential in our business. Members need to collaborate with their input requirements to allow AF to negotiate deals on behalf of our customers.

“AF is entering into effective dialogue with our partners of choice for the benefit of the membership, and collaboration between members and suppliers is vital.”

Mr Duffy took the helm after chief executive of 15 years Clarke Willis MBE stood down. Mr Willis said he had left AF Group “on a sound financial footing”.

The group’s results showed AF Affinity, which offers purchasing services to non-agricultural businesses and lifestyle farmers, saw its turnover pass £8.3m, and professional straw merchants AF Biomass, a supplier to the new Snetterton Power Station, recorded turnover of £4m. AF Finance, a collective investment scheme, loaned £4.3m to members in the 12-month period.

The year also saw the launch of AF Logic, following concerns from members about continued consolidation of the crop protection supply chain. The business achieved more than £1m of sales in its first half-year of trading, which covered the autumn spraying season.

AF Group in numbers

• Turnover: £234.2m

• Operating surplus: £760,360

• Net surplus (after members and tax): £229,821

• Anglia Farmers members: 3,100

• Area farmed by members: 1.02 million hectares

• Proportion of UK sugar beet produced by AF members: 57.4%

• Proportion of UK potatoes produced by AF members: 28.9%

• Proportion of UK wheat crops produced by AF members: 13.1%

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