Country’s biggest farming co-op looks to expand into Midlands
PUBLISHED: 08:21 10 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:20 10 May 2018
Angela Sharpe Photography
The chief executive of the country’s biggest agricultural purchasing group says it has shown “commitment to growth” across the UK after it spread its footprint from East Anglia into the Midlands.
AF Group, which was formerly known as Anglia Farmers, has been offering its services further afield for several years and is now opening an office in Braunston, Northamptonshire.
The mutual, which has its headquarters at Honingham Thorpe, near Norwich, was originally formed as a merger of Norfolk buying groups Mid Norfolk Farmers and Loddon Farmers but since then has expanded its services across East Anglia and the UK.
But the business said the new office, which opens on Monday, will allow it to forge stronger ties with members and suppliers outside of the Eastern region.
Chief executive Jon Duffy said: “This is an exciting new chapter for AF and it underlines our commitment to growth and expansion throughout the UK. It will allow us to forge stronger ties with suppliers and act as a focal point for increased membership.
“This new office demonstrates AF is a healthy and progressive business, which is evolving and advancing in line with our strategy. Continued growth is important to help us achieve even greater buying power and help our members to prosper – AF shines brightest when it is standing in the shadows of the success of our members.”
Recently appointed livestock feed general manager Keith Snape will be based in the new office.
AF employs more than 150 people and spends more than £250m a year to source 10% of the UK’s farm inputs – including 200,000 tonnes of fertiliser, 14,000 of cereal and pulse seeds and 105,000 tonnes of feed as well as millions of pounds spent on building materials and tyres.
AF head of member engagement Will Sommerville said growth across the UK would bolster the group’s buying power and benefit all of its members, including those in East Anglia.
He said: “The partnership we have with our members has enabled us to push ahead with our growth strategy, but our roots remain firmly in East Anglia.
“The new office is a commitment to our members who are based in the Midlands and the West Country, helping us to offer them an improved livestock and feed service.”
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