Machinery company marks 25 years of service

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This year marks a milestone for Ross Farm Machinery. The Herefordshire-based firm is celebrating 25 years of servicing Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, South Wales and the Welsh Marches.

Ross Farm Machinery was formed in 1991 and is privately owned, by Russell Brett, Andrew Stuffins and Paddy Kennedy. The three owners all live locally and are employed in the business, bringing their varied experience from previous employment: Russell with a tractor manufacturer; Andrew in finance and commerce; and Paddy in farm management.

The business covers an area between the M54 and the M4, with three fully-equipped depots at Ross on Wye, Martley (between Tenbury and Worcester), and Raglan (which services south-east Wales).

"When RFM started out almost 25 years ago we had only a modest level of financial capital to introduce and our main priorities at that time were to manage cash flow and convince local farmers that RFM was here for the long term," explained Russell Brett.

"Each year brings its own challenges, fluctuating farmers' fortunes having a direct bearing on the dealership's performance.

"We endured the impact of milk quotas, BSE and the foot and mouth crisis which brought a great deal of misery to our customers. Interspersed with those external factors, we had a major fire at one site, and suffered a significant financial loss when a hire company customer went into liquidation.

"In 2006 we changed our tractor franchise. This followed hot on the heels of changing our handler offering to JCB.

"Huge expense was involved in these changes since everybody in the company had to be retrained, not only on current product but historical too. And that's not to mention the financial impact of restocking parts, investing in special tools, writing down and off those they displaced.

"However, we have added modestly to the company's net worth each year which is particularly important for retaining confidence with the bank, other lenders and suppliers."

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