Fram Farmers Group, a leading UK farmer-owned inputs purchasing and crop marketing cooperative, reported record results at its Annual General Meeting on 15 November 2018.
Formed by 23 local farmers who first met in Framlingham, Suffolk on 17 March 1960, Fram Farmers remains a not-for-profit farmer-owned cooperative and enables members to obtain best value from the supply chain. Still based in the town, it now provides the purchasing, grain marketing and administrative function for more than 1,200 farming businesses who collectively farm over 270,000 hectares throughout the UK.
During the financial year to 30 June 2018, Fram Farmers achieved its highest-ever annual turnover, £195 million (£179 million: 2016/2017). Purchasing turnover increased by 11.3% and included organic growth of 8%, which reflects the fact that members trusted the cooperative with an increasing percentage of their business.
Fram Farmers’ pre-tax operating surplus increased to £201,000 (£87,124 deficit: 2016/2017), while Framtrade Ltd, the Group’s wholly-owned retail subsidiary which supplies oil and gas products to over 4,000 members of the public and small businesses, had an exceptional year, recording a pre-tax operating profit of £464,309 (£266,567: 2016/2017).
The combined £665,523 surplus (£184,362: 2016/2017) was the highest in Fram Farmers’ 58-year history and will contribute to the cooperative’s future development by allowing it to attract, train and retain the best people, utilise the best IT systems to optimise efficiency, and continue to expand the range and scope of its member services.
Fram Farmers Group’s Capital and Reserves rose to a record £4 million (£3.46 million 2016/2017), providing it with the financial strength to negotiate competitive terms with suppliers who know that they will be paid on time and in full.
During the year the cooperative returned all £572,087 (£436,000: 2016/2017) of the product volume support which it received from manufacturers to members.
Announcing the results, Richard Anscombe, Fram Farmers Chief Executive, stated: “Fram Farmers attracts successful, forward-thinking farming businesses who derive significant benefits from their membership of a cooperative which is dynamic, pro-active, completely trustworthy and transparent in every way. Even the largest farming businesses 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.
“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. Since we launched Fram Farmers Insurance in 2015 it has become a core service for the cooperative and has provided members with average discounts well into double figures on their premiums.
“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.
“The key goal is to grow member commitment, not for growth’s sake but because it represents the best objective measure that we are meeting members needs. Greater and earlier commitment provides higher volumes and valuable information which allows us to work with suppliers and help them plan their production and distribution, increasing our ability to negotiate better deals.
“During the year ahead, we will focus on ensuring that all members appreciate that Fram Farmers is the best choice for a completely independent, trustworthy view of the market, based our high-quality data and information. We will aim to increase our engagement with the most forward-thinking, most committed and largest member businesses to ensure that the services we provide are right for them, because ultimately achieving that standard will benefit all members.
“We will also increase our focus on the ‘Next Generation Group’, broadly those under 40 years of age, who are the future leaders of our members’ businesses and key to the future success of Fram Farmers.”