1900

1917 - 22

1946

1950

1964

1986

1989

1991 - 93

1995

2001 - 03

2005

2006 - 07

2014

2015

1900

Land purchases include Marden in Herefordshire in 1904, Coldham near Wisbech in 1912, Adlingfleet near Goole in 1916 and Stoughton near Leicester in 1919. By the end of World War 1, CWS has invested £1.2m in 32,648 acres.

1917 - 22

First Tractor at Coldham. CWS describes itself thus: ‘Growers, shippers, bankers, importers’.

1946

CWS buys estates at Cockayne Hatley in Bedfordshire and Blairgowrie near Dundee.

1950’s

Expansion into dairy farming. First bulk milk tank installed in 1956. Management of farms centralised at Stoughton.

1964

Last farm horse retired. CWS co-founds Wye Fruit marketing co-op. In 1965 the management training scheme was introduced.

1986

First two farm management agreements in Perthshire, Scotland. Large scale vegetable production begins at Coldham. farming and Wildlife Advisory Group plans implemented on all farms.

1989

Mixed farming and stockless arable organic trial on 260 acres at Stoughton. Results are ‘unpredictable, leading to variations in quality and lower shelf-life in some produce’. High production costs, insufficient yields and fertility building impact on profitability.

FarmWorld open farm opens at Stoughton, attracting 140,000 visitors a year to the conference centre, cafe and ale house. Schools were invited to observe afternoon milking in a special viewing parlour.

1991-93

CWS invests £5.5m into 20,000 acres in partnership with other private and institutional owners.

Cockayne Hatley chosen as a LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) demonstration farm. 150-acre Focus on Farming Practice trial combines traditional techniques with modern technology, in partnership with fertiliser manufacturer Hydro-Agri and crop protection.

1995

Area farmed passes 50,000 acres. The business owns and maintains 340 dwellings in England and Scotland, housing 90% of employees and many pensioners, as well as private and commercial tennants. It also provides community facilities including village halls and playing fields at peppercorn rents.

1996 - CWS Agriculture is Britain’s biggest dairy business, milking 4,000 cows a day and producing 32 million litres of milk a year. It runs 15 dairy units on six estates, two under joint venture agreements.

2001-03

Farm business rebrands as Farmcare. In 2003 Dairy herds are sold.

2005

Farm to Fork initiative begins, aimed at fostering a greater appreciation of the outdoors and an understanding of farming.

2006-07

Acquired first pack-house, where potatoes were washed and packed for stores. One more were subsequently purchased. In 2007 Grown By Us range is launched, focussing in British seasonal produce grown on the farms.

Farmcare rebrands as the Co-operative Farms as part of a national rebranding programme for all Co-operative Group Buinesses.

2014

Wellcome Trust buys Co-op farms for £249 million and branding reverts to Farmcare.

2015

Agriculture is always evolving, so are we. Working towards our strategy, brand and vision we will strive to innovate as well as continue to deliver outstanding products and services to our customers. We are the UK’s leading rural growing business.