Forthright about Co-op Fortnight

This year’s Co-op Fortnight is a good time to take a fresh look at how, with all the co-operative values, you benefit from your AF membership.

Let’s shine a spotlight on co-operative values matched with examples of how AF helps our Members.

Co-op to the core

As you might expect from a movement founded in 1844, there’s more than a passing nod to the religious and benefactory vigour of Victorians in the ten co-operative values (as described by Cooperatives UK). These values still hold strong today and are what we at AF strive to achieve for, and with, our Members.

  1. Caring for others – we show care for your businesses and the whole rural community.
  2. Democracy – one Member, one vote and we welcome and act on our Members’ suggestions.
  3. Equity – our AF Members own their co-operative.
  4. Equality – every Member and every order is treated with respect.
  5. Honesty – we communicate clearly & regularly sharing insights, updates& opportunities.
  6. Openness – we’re transparent in all our transactions so you know exactly what service charge you pay for each item we procure.
  7. Self-help – we provide practical advice and evidence to help your business decision-making.
  8. Self-responsibility – as colleagues and Members we have high standards of behaviour.
  9. Solidarity – we take every opportunity to understand and represent rural businesses.
  10. Social responsibility – we provide support and expertise especially to those who need it.

Day-to-day benefits of your co-operative for your business

AF takes on key, time-consuming business functions: finding the best price in the market, raising a purchase order, confirming delivery, reconciling the invoice and managing payment. What’s more, we deal with any issues along the way so you don’t have to.

Wendland Limited, an AF Member for nearly 16 years, regularly contact AF to purchase a wide range of products including building materials, livestock feed and bedding, machinery, telecoms and fuels. One of their directors said: “AF is always helpful and efficient and amazing at sorting out any issues that arise.”

Power in our procurement

Did you know we procure fuel for 70% of AF Members? So far this year (to 31st May), that includes £3.5m heating oil, £3m Fuel Card spend, £8.3m red diesel and £8m derv. Our co-operative purchasing power and team of specialists means we have the best experts buying fuels at the best prices for our Members.

60% of Members also trust AF to procure their electricity. Your AF Energy team manages 7,461 electricity sites on behalf of our Members.

An AF First Milk Member in Scotland challenged AF to beat their renewal quote of £42k per year. We achieved a 53% (£22k) saving, so now our Member is only paying £19k per year for their electricity.

We’ve done our sums and 10% of the Members who have moved their electricity procurement to AF this year have saved over 50% (up to 69%) compared to their previous supplier’s renewal quote. That adds up to a significant saving for their businesses and means in many cases their membership fees can be covered just by the savings they make on electricity.

The more we know the more we can save you

We want to get you, our Members, the best value every time you procure through us.

A call or visit from your account manager is an important part of this. They will ask you about all of your business inputs. Why? To help you make the most of your AF membership. We want to show savings you can make in areas you may not know we operate in and understanding your farm or rural business is key to identifying how we can save you time and money.

AF Member Account Managers Jane Ritchie and Duncan Abel have been on the road visiting Members from the south coast to the highlands of Scotland. After a recent visit by Jane, one Member emailed: “Thank you very much for coming to visit the farm last month, it was great to meet you. I’ve been very impressed by all of the staff at AF, they have all been in touch about the various items we talked about and been very helpful …”.

Winning with your co-operative

We hope you already know the benefits of your AF co-operative. But you may only be familiar with the parts of AF you use regularly. You might be surprised at some of the unusual products we procure for Members.

So, whatever it is you need, even if it’s something you’ve never put through your AF account before, make sure your first step is to challenge AF to procure it for you.

Contact your Member Account Manager by email to or call 01603 881 881.