Animal feed firm supporting Shropshire farmers celebrates 150 years

A leading manufacturer of ruminant animal feed which supports farmers in Shropshire is celebrating its 150th anniversary today.

NWF Agriculture
NWF Agriculture

NWF Agriculture was established as the Cheshire Farmers Supply Association Ltd on June 5, 1871.

In 1918, the Cheshire Farmers Supply Association Ltd grew to become a cooperative, expanding its capital base and incentivising members to trade with the cooperative.

After 40 years, following a merger of the Cheshire, Shropshire & North Wales Farmers Supply Association and the Chester Farmers, the cooperative changed its name to North Western Farmers Ltd.

The Wardle Mill site near Nantwich officially opened in 1980, as the largest specialist ruminant feed mill in the UK.

Wardle Mill

Continuing to produce ruminant feeds, North Western Farmers Ltd consistently grew and in 1988 it became a limited company, operating as NWF Group Ltd, with the feed division now known as NWF Agriculture.

Managing director Andrew Downie, said: “We are delighted to celebrate our 150th anniversary.

"NWF Agriculture operates in a dynamic industry, with new technologies developed at an ever-increasing rate which has offered our business and our customers fantastic opportunities to embrace change and progress over the past 150 years.

"We are proud of our heritage, reputation and standing within the agricultural community and through continuous investments, the business has grown during the past two decades of industry consolidation.”

NWF has grown from 50 to over 550 thousand tonnes of volume per annum.

SC Feeds

In 1965 there were over 800 feed mills in Great Britain. By 2025 there will be less than 100, yet in the same period manufactured feed volumes have risen from 3.3 million to 4.3 million tonnes.

“The business is known for its high level of service and customer support. As our business grows and that of our customers, our support level must also increase, which is why we are embarking on a series of exciting and heavily invested projects to ensure that growth is achieved," said Andrew.

"We would like to extend our gratitude and thanks to both current customers, suppliers and past generations for their support."

NWF acquired the ruminant business SC Feeds in 2013, an acquisition that further strengthened operations and opportunities to support farmers across Cheshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Derbyshire, North Wales and surrounding areas.

It acquired the ruminant business Jim Peet Agriculture in 2016 to strengthen operations and opportunities to support farmers across Cumbria, Lancashire, Northumberland and the south-west of Scotland.

In 2019, the NWF Academy was launched – an 18-month training programme to train professorial farm advisors of the future to assist British livestock farmers and the livestock industry in developing a sustainable, profitable future.

The business now operates from five locations located in Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire and Devon, supplying ruminant feed and associated products to over 4,500 British farmers, and employs more than 250 staff.

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