Co-op confirms it is selling its farms

The Co-op does a lot of contract farming in the Borders
The Co-op does a lot of contract farming in the Borders
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The Co-op confirmed yesterday (Wednesday) it is selling its farms and that Whitsome Hill, near Duns “is on the list”.

But no further details were available as we went to press.

The announcement came after speculation from the BBC that the business will record losses of over £2billion when it posts its annual results at the end of March.

A spokesperson for the Co-op explained: “As part of the wider strategic review of all of its businesses, The Co-operative Group has decided that its farms are non-core and has started a process that is expected to lead to a sale of the business.

“In addition, it is exploring options for the future of the pharmacy business; this could include the sale in whole or part of the business.”

Disposal plans were under discussion yesterday.

The Co-op contract farms land on behalf of several clients in the Borders region and describes the arable Whitsome Hill as its Borders office base.

It runs its ‘From Farm to Fork’ operation - inviting schoolchildren onto farms to learn about where their food comes from - from the Hirsel Estate at Coldstream.

The Co-operative Wholesale Society, as it was then, bought its first farm in 1896.

The Co-op is now one of Britain’s largest producers, farming over 50,000 acres across the UK.

It moved out of dairying in 2003 to concentrate on arable production and in recent years has been building packhouses and setting up turbines.

It has also promoted and invested insustainable production over the years.