An innovative new farmers supply business launched this week
promises to cut out all the unnecessary costs of farm input buying – from
time and hassle to salesmen, brochures, advertising and middlemen
of every description.
Developed by Lancashire farmers, John and Alison Loftus in conjunction
with fellow producers, Jane Dyson and David Johnson, Farmer-to-Farmer
is a determined effort to slash the cost of key farm supplies.
It is based on the simple principle of providing what farmers really
want – quality products direct from their original manufacturers
at the lowest possible prices.
The business is based around a no-nonsense website –www.farmertofarmer.co.uk– with
no salesmen, commission, cars, telesales staff, bad debts or late
payments, the absolute minimum of overheads and completely transparent
as well as rock-bottom pricing.
“Everyone gets the same prices which we have already discounted
to the lowest possible level,” John Loftus explains. “There
are no time-wasting negotiations or bulk-buying deals because there is
no margin left to negotiate. It’s a simple as that.
“With dairy semen, for instance, road-based selling adds over 100%
to the retail price and telesales around 70%. By having neither we are
able to provide semen from the same bulls at less than half the price
it is offered in most other countries in the world. This is the unprecedented
level of cost-saving we are delivering for UK farmers.
“We’re running a 24-hour telephone order line/helpline as
part of the service, but if you use the website and require no assistance
you’ll save yourself an extra 10% on all items. Basically if you
don’t cost us money, you get the saving. “Well-planned purchasing
will also allow you to save on delivery costs which are charged separately
through reliable national carriers.”
Farmer-to-Farmer is being launched with a range of proven dairy and
beef semen from the UK, North America, Ireland and Sersia France. To
this will be added goat semen from France and a range of dairy consumables
like formalin, teat dips and disinfectants within the first phase of
Thereafter John Loftus and his advisory board of farmers intend to broaden
the product range offered rapidly, following feedback from trading members.
They stress that products will only retain their place in the portfolio
if they continued to meet members’ needs.
“We’ve set up the business to supply what farmers want to
buy rather than to sell what we happen to have,” stresses John. “This
makes us very different from any other supplier. We are prepared to make
any product available on the website from any company if the quality
is high enough and the wholesale price low enough. We calculate we are
able to offer most of our products at a maximum margin of 10% over wholesale
prices for those who order directly off the web site to cover our business
“Being totally farmer-led rather than just farmer-focussed, we
will be promoting the use of returnable plastic chemical containers to
cut both the cost and nuisance of drum disposal as well as a range of
other approaches and technologies aimed at reducing our industry’s
“More than anything else, though, the over-riding aim of FTF is
to cut costs to the bone by breaking the current farm supply mould. We
are aiming to deal with farmers who know what they want, are happy to
pay for it now, and want to be confident they have paid the lowest possible
price without wasting valuable time shopping around and negotiating small
percentages off a large suppliers margin”.
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