Carrfields buys Farm Source livestock arm

Ashburton rural services company Carrfields has bought the livestock division from Fonterra subsidiary Farm Source for an undisclosed sum.

The giant co-operative has shed the livestock arm as part of a review of its business since posting its first financial loss last year in 17 years.

Family-owned Carrfields has been quietly growing, buying up enterprises and setting up partnerships in its technology, livestock, irrigation, contracting, grain and seed, machinery and wool businesses. Last month it signed a hemp-processing deal.

Farm Source stores director Richard Allen said the decision to sell the livestock division to Carrfields Livestock was made as part of a larger review within Fonterra.

“In the context of the review of the co-op’s assets and investments, we have made the decision to sell the livestock division to Carrfields Livestock,’’ said Allen. “This will better serve the livestock team and the farms they service. While Farm Source’s livestock division has contributed positive returns since inception, we believe the investment required to maintain and grow this division can be more effectively targeted towards improving core areas of the Farm Source business.’’

Carrfields Group managing director Craig Carr said the division would fill gaps in its national network and it would now have more than 150 livestock agents spread across the country.

“This strategic partnership will offer Farm Source clients and Fonterra farmer owners access to a nationwide agent and sale yard network provided by a New Zealand family-owned business.’’

Carrfields takes ownership in March with only a “small number’’ of employees expected to be unable to continue working with the business. Farm Source said it would support them with job opportunities within the co-operative.

Farm Source, previously operating as RD1, has a network of 70 stores and has run the livestock division since 2005.

– By Tim Cronshaw