Government legislation, changing technology, international markets- farming was changing at a rapid pace in the latter part of the 20th century. Facing tough times we had to adapt and make changes to remain successful, not to mention the impact of joining the European Union and the effects of the Common Agricultural Policy.
We decided to make our expertise available to other landowners and entered into our first farm management agreements in Perthshire, Scotland. Now we operate dozens more of contract farm agreements, tenancies or partnerships throughout the country.
In 1986, Farming Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) plans were implemented on all farms. This process was repeated in the mid 1990’s and this information was used to assist in the completion of many Countryside Stewardship Schemes and subsequent Higher Level Schemes. All owned land is also under the Entry Level Scheme and there are many local hedge and tree planting programmes in addition to pond management programmes.
Following the merger of CWS and CRS, CWS Agriculture was renamed Farmcare.
We moved out of dairy farming to focus solely on arable farming, growing cereals, oil crops and root crops. At the request of the Co-operative Retail stores we also expanded our top and soft fruit businesses.
Acquired our first pack-house, washing and packing potatoes for our stores. We now own 3 across the UK, one of which packs strawberries and broccoli.
Grown by us is launched. The range focuses on British seasonal produce grown on our own farms. You can find out more about our brand and our products at Grown by us.
With the beginning of a national rebranding programme for all Co-operative Group businesses, Farmcare was rebranded as The Co-operative Farms.