UK’s Largest Farmer Buying Groups Form Alliance To Deliver Purchasing Efficiency


Today, Fram Farmers Ltd, Woldmarsh Producers Ltd and AF Group Ltd have announced a new collaborative procurement initiative - Agri Procurement Alliance Ltd (APA).

APA’s Board of Directors (left to right) Andrew Knowles, David Sheppard, Heather Claridge, Iain Gardner, Stuart McKenzie (chair), Andrew Price and David Horton-Fawkes


This exciting new initiative aims to secure better value to the farmer and landowner memberships of the three largest cooperative buying groups by leveraging the strength and influence of their combined 6000 members. All three groups, each with their own unique operational methods, have a common purpose – to improve margins for their members and build stronger relationships with the supply chain.

“Profound changes are taking place in the agricultural supply sector as we adjust to a post-Brexit marketplace, and transition from an EU to UK agricultural policy platform. These changes bring opportunities, challenges and new priorities for farm procurement,” explains Stuart McKenzie, APA chairman.

“It has therefore never been more important for farmers to adapt to this disruption, and work together through their cooperative buying groups. APA is a response to these challenges and the continuing consolidation of the agri supply chain, including manufacture and distribution.”

From 26th April 2023, APA will set strategy for the purchase of specific products, utilising the collective strength of the new alliance to build stronger relationships with the supply chain. Initially, APA will be focused exclusively on the fertiliser market - negotiating procurement terms, collation of market intelligence and new product innovation, and sharing this with the three buying groups.


“Despite significant individual growth in membership numbers, cooperation between the groups provides an opportunity to make a step-change in size, bringing the total to over 6,000 members. We are confident this will elevate discussions with suppliers to another level, bringing benefits to both members and suppliers,” Mr McKenzie adds.

“APA will be solely focused on working with suppliers, to optimise volumes and deliver more efficient forecasting, planning and enhanced procurement. There will be no change in how the individual buying groups support and serve their members, who will continue to receive distinctive value, service and advice.”

Each of the groups, as shareholders, will hold an equal proportion of the equity of APA, with two directors representing each of the shareholders on the board of the new alliance:

  • David Horton Fawkes – AF Group Ltd CEO
  • Iain Gardner – AF Group Ltd Chairman
  • Heather Claridge – Woldmarsh Producers Ltd CEO
  • Andrew Price - Woldmarsh Producers Ltd chairman
  • Andrew Knowles – Fram Farmers CEO
  • David Sheppard – Fram Farmers board member

Stuart McKenzie, former Woldmarsh Producers Ltd Chief Executive, will chair APA, bringing decades of agricultural management and procurement experience to lead the initiative. 

The three farming groups are clear that the establishment of APA is not the beginning of them merging, nor will it dilute their individual independence, identity or regional propositions.

“Each of the groups have always recognised the value and benefits of cooperating and working collaboratively with organisations that share similar values objectives and ethos,” says Mr McKenzie.

“Each buying group is a unique organisation, and APA is an exciting solution to strengthen the individual organisations’ operational capabilities, streamline operations and create opportunities. This diversity is part of APA Ltd’s strength.”

“In short, APA is about working with suppliers and the wider industry to support UK farming, and we are looking forward to bringing further value to the collective memberships,” he concludes.