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Co-ops see strength grow

by 5m Editor
12 July 2007, at 9:15am

UK - British farmers, unlike many of their colleagues on mainland Europe, are notoriously individualistic. The ethos of co-operation has taken a long time to take root in the UK farming industry, but that appears to be changing, with Scotland very much punching above its weight.

Yesterday the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS), which co-ordinates co-operation in Scotland on the rural front, released some highly encouraging figures.

The top line is that farming-related co-ops in the UK had a turnover last year of £4.4 billion, generating profits for the collective membership of £58.4 million. In Scotland, 80 co-ops notched up a turnover of £1.4 billion.

UK-wide, co-ops now have a membership of over 150,000 farmers, but many of those farmers are signed up to more than one mutual venture. A detailed breakdown of all the co-ops in the UK, and that includes CWS with a turnover of £8.5bn, shows that of the top 100 similar businesses, 57 are farming orientated.

Top of the league in the farmer-owned business table is the Glasgow-based First Milk, which has 2,800 members in Scotland, England and Wales with a turnover of over £500 million. That ranking places First Milk in seventh place in the UK league of co-ops. Not far behind is the Inverurie-based ANM Group, which has diversified considerably in recent years from its core business of livestock auctioneering and meat processing. Last year ANM had a turnover of just short of £265m.

Source: Scotsman.com

5m Editor