AF has swell time at technical events

What shows has AF attended?

Teams of AF colleagues attended technical events and show across the country – Groundswell in Hertfordshire, the Royal Norfolk Show (RNS), The Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh and Down to Earth in Cumbria.

Why does AF attend?

Shows vary, from the very traditional county show to progressive opportunities to learn and share up to date farming methods. But our aim is always the same: engage with Members and potential new Members, and keep abreast of the latest thinking, technology and opportunities.

Showing up

At the RNS we were delighted to see over a hundred Members and explain all the ways to make the most of being part of AF. By following up with phonecalls to all of these Members after the show we’ve been able to support Members and help our co-operative by optimising these new business leads.

Over at Groundswell, we were very pleased to meet 35 Members, but also to meet over forty potential new Members (PNM). Every PNM has been contacted and we hope that a high proportion of these will join us. We also met 19 new suppliers, many of whom will be able to supply Members with a variety of products and inputs that support regenerative farming methods including seed, fertiliser, soil conditioners and machinery.

The other great benefit of going to Groundswell was the way we could plan that all our AF team attend and feed back information from the host of talks and seminars, and each of us listened to at least three of these. We will use their newfound knowledge and evidence heard for learning sessions at AF and of course to share the latest methods and thinking with you.

Taking to the hills

AF's Alistair Nottage with farmer Gareth Wyn Jones Down to Earth Cumbria
AF’s Alistair Nottage (right) with farmer Gareth Wyn Jones at Down to Earth event, Cumbria

It has been very similar at Down to Earth, which is the livestock equivalent of Groundswell. In the windswept grassland of Torpenhow, Cumbria, colleagues were put in touch with 29 PNMs and several potential new suppliers, and were able to attend the farm walk and other learning opportunities. Again, all to be shared with you.

What are the returns?

We now have a system of quantifying the benefits of attending shows, so that we can justify to you as Members and to our Board the time, effort and expense involved in setting up a stall or attending on foot. We have calculated objective and subjective criteria which are weighted with values, and we use these to measure the return on investment of taking a stand.

By attending selected shows we build on our reputation, and showcase to the agricultural community our strengths and values, and of course that attracts new Members and strengthens the co-operative. But it also gives us time and space in a conducive place to help current Members get even better value and wider procurement opportunities.

Importantly, we also want our team of procurement specialists to be at the forefront of the latest innovations and developments by hearing about them first hand and from the people with pertinent and practical advice.

Simplify, Professionalise, Lead

AF at Groundswell 2023
AF at Groundswell 2023

We believe our 2023 show business is in line with three of our four guiding principles.

Simplify: Member feedback has been overwhelmingly positive about our stands. Like 2022 we’ve been told by you that this year’s stands have been smart, eye-catching, good value and with a warm welcome and appropriate refreshments.

Professionalise: Our focus has been on meaningful contacts, developing business opportunities and projecting our intentions and values.

Lead: AF is positioning itself at the forefront of agriculture and rural business, entirely for the benefit of our Members and our colleagues. We want to help ensure you prosper by being your procurement specialists who understand your business and get you market-leading prices.