- Mole Valley Farmers
Mole Valley Farmers Type Agricultural cooperative Founded 1960 Headquarters Devon, South West England Key people D A Burke, Chairman, G M Cock, P Delbridge, S A Edmunds, F B Jennings, M H J Nicholls, T M P Wall, P G Winstone Total assets £257.6M (2009) Website molevalleyfarmers.com
Mole Valley Farmers was started in 1960 by a small group of farmers in Devon who were concerned by the discriminatory practices and the large margins being taken by many of their input suppliers. They decided to treat all members equally, subject only to quantity allowance and that the company would operate on the minimum margin to allow continuity and growth. This popular model was followed by many in the British co-operative movement. Today Mole Valley Farmers is one of a few true agricultural cooperatives in the supply industry and one of the largest in the UK. Despite this, customers do not need to be either farmers or members of the cooperative to shop there.
Mole Valley Farmers owns nine branches in South West England, their own feed mills (for animal feeds, at Dorchester, Huntworth and Lifton), fertiliser blending plants (at Teignmouth), a specialist mineral plant (at Bridgwater), a farm building division (at Witheridge) and a commercial / informational website. The range of goods supplied by Mole Valley Farmers has grown since the company's early beginnings and now includes lifestyle products such as clothing, footwear, garden supplies, pet food, white goods and power tools. In 2002, Mole Valley Farmers acquired SCATS Countrystores, which has 19 stores across the south of England.
The company's closest competitors include NWF Agriculture, the Wynnstay Group and Countrywide. The Wynnstay group (a Welsh agricultural cooperative) has made the fastest growth in recent years, but Mole Valley Farmers's annual turnover was double that of NWF Agriculture and £50 million more than Countrywide in 2009 (2009 Wynnstay turnover figure currently unavailable). Mole Valley Farmers had a record year in 2009, with turnover reaching £257.6m.
Locations of branches:
Confusion sometimes arises over any potential connection with Mole Valley, a district in Surrey in South East England. Mole Valley Farmers takes its name from an area in North Devon, between the towns of North Molton and South Molton. The River Mole runs through this area but is again distinct from the River Mole that runs between Dorking and Leatherhead in Surrey.
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