Record year for farmers’ co-op, but choppy waters lie ahead as Brexit approaches, CEO warns
PUBLISHED: 10:53 19 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:12 19 November 2018
A Suffolk-based farmers’ co-operative is celebrating record results as its turnover soared to £195m, and its surplus rose to the highest in its 58-year history.
But Fram Farmers Group, based at Framlingham, said choppy waters lie ahead with Brexit, and the uncertainty that brings. As a result, it is launching a three-year business plan to increase member commitment and secure better deals on their behalf.
The not-for-profit group reported a sales rise from the previous year of £16m - a 9% increase - for the year to June 2018 at its annual general meeting on November 15.
The group provides purchasing, grain marketing and administrative services for more than 1,200 farming businesses which collectively farm more than 270,000ha of farmland in the UK.
Purchasing turnover increased by 11.3% and included organic growth of 8%, while pre-tax operating surplus rose to £201,000 from a £87,124 deficit in 2016/2017.
Framtrade Ltd, a wholly-owned retail subsidiary which supplies oil and gas products to more than 4,000 members of the public and small businesses, had an exceptional year, recording a pre-tax operating profit of £464,309, up 74% from £266,567 in 2016/2017. The group’s capital and reserves rose to a record £4m, helping it to negotiate competitive terms with suppliers, as they know they will be paid on time and in full.
The combined £665,523 surplus (£184,362: 2016/2017) was the highest in Fram Farmers’ history and will help its future development by enabling it to attract, train and retain the best people, improve IT systems and continue to expand the range and scope of its member services.
Chief executive Richard Anscombe said: “The directors of Fram Farmers appreciate that choppy waters lie ahead as we approach Brexit and have considered the future for agriculture in detail.
“Appreciating that during uncertain times members need the comfort and security of belong to a cooperative that they can trust absolutely to act in their best interests, Fram Farmers is implementing a three-year business plan that will provide even greater benefits.”
Fram Farmers Insurance, launched in 2015, had become a core service for the co-op, providing members with average discounts well into double figures on their premiums, he said.
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