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AF Group pledge to put members at the centre of the organisation

The new CEO of AF Group is instilling a customer-focused approach in a drive to put AF members at the centre of the business.

Jon Duffy joined AF Group (Anglia Farmers Limited and its four wholly-owned subsidiaries) in March and has pledged to return real value to its farmer members.

AF Group has reported continued growth with turnover increasing £3.3million to £234.2million in the past 12 months, with an operating surplus of £760,360 and a net surplus of £229,821 after payments to members and tax. The growth is against a backdrop of lower commodity prices in the agricultural sector, although commodity prices are going up in the current year.

The Group’s society, Anglia Farmers Limited (AF), has more than 3,100 members across the UK farming over 1.02 million hectares. The membership accounts for 57.4% of the UK’s sugar beet; 28.9% of potatoes; and 13.1% of wheat crops.

Jon 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,” said Mr Duffy. “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.” 

Jon Duffy has taken over from Clarke Willis MBE who stepped down as CEO in March after 15 years at the helm.

Commenting on the 2016/17 annual figures, Mr Willis said: “The AF Group has delivered another solid performance and strengthens its position as a vital link in the supply chain from input suppliers to retailers. I leave the AF Group business on a sound financial footing and wish it every success in the future.”

Anglia Farmers Limited generated £230.1million turnover and recorded a net surplus of £255,413 after payments to members. 

AF Affinity Limited’s turnover passed £8.3million and it returned a net surplus of £85,686 to the Group. AF Affinity offers purchasing services to non-agricultural businesses through Affinity and to lifestyle farmers through FarmBuyer. 

AF Biomass Limited, professional straw merchants within the energy, food and farming sectors, saw sales increase to over £4million and it recorded a net surplus of £60,880. The business supplies straw into straw-based power stations including the newly-commissioned Snetterton Power Station.

AF Finance Limited, a pooled collective investment scheme, loaned £4.3million to members and returned £9,140 to the Group from retained interest and fees.

AF Logic Limited was introduced during 2016 following concerns from members about continued consolidation of the crop protection supply chain. Trading commenced part-way through the 2016-2017 financial year. The business achieved over £1million of sales in its first half-year of trading, which only covered the autumn spraying season.

The Anglia Farmers Limited Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday 21 June at 2.00pm at Anglia Farmers, Honingham Thorpe, Colton, Norwich NR9 5BZ.

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