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Farmlands reaches 20,000 shareholder milestone

May 31 2006

Farmlands reaches 20,000 shareholder milestone

Rural retail co-operative Farmlands has reached a major milestone signing up its 20,000th shareholder this month as the company captures even more of the North Island market.

The 20,000 place on the shareholder register went to Akitio farmer Graeme Henderson, who joined for “the convenience of getting everything in one store and on rural delivery that day”.

“I thought I must have forgotten to sign something when I got the call. I was chuffed to be the 20,000th member,” Mr Henderson said.

Farmlands chief executive John Newland said shareholder growth had been increasing every month and all staff had been waiting to see who would be Farmlands’ 20,000th shareholder.

“When Graeme’s name came up our Dannevirke business manager was straight on the phone booking the photographer,” he said.

During the past five years more than a third of new shareholders had been sheep and beef farmers, followed by dairy farmers, small block/lifestyle farmers and horticultural growers.

Hawke’s Bay and the East Coast recorded the greatest shareholder growth at 21 per cent. New stores and expansions in Whangarei, Pukekohe, Wanganui, Taranaki, Levin and Otaki had also contributed to the record increase.

Mr Newland said a major reason for shareholder growth had been the challenges to past and often long standing loyalties in the rural service sector which in many cases were no longer in place.

Traditional relationships between farmers and their service provider had always been the cornerstone to doing business.

“Farmlands has certainly benefited from the Wrightson acquisition of Williams & Kettle– this is particularly evident on the East Coast,” he said.

Another factor contributing to the shareholder growth has been the increase in small block and lifestyle farmers with 20ha or less.

“It is very exciting to see Farmlands starting to dominate in what is an extremely aggressive and competitive environment,” he said.

“We’ve come a long way on the vision of six Hawke’s Bay farmers who established Farmlands in 1962 to gain more competitive prices and better access to farm supplies”.

Today Farmlands has 32 stores spread throughout the North Island and staff of 250.

ENDS

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