• Louth Park Farm is currently run by the Co-op Group.
• Co-op Group is also considering selling off its pharmacy business, but this will not affect Louth. The pharmacy in Eastgate is run by Lincolnshire Co-operative, an entirely separate business.
The Co-op Group has formally announced that it will be selling off its farming business, in a move that is likely to affect the 2,248 hectare Louth Park Farm.
The arable farm, near Keddington, is currently leased to the Co-op who farm it on a contract basis. The farm mainly produces peas, wheat and rapeseed. Louth Park Farm is one of 15 farms run by the company.
The Co-op Group, which is reportedly set to announce losses of around £2 billion for 2013 later this month, is also considering whether to sell off its pharmacy business either in part or in full. This will not affect Louth.
Last Wednesday, the company released an official statement which said: “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.”
Russ Brady, Head of Public Relations at the Co-op Group, told the Leader: “There are a couple of reasons why we are looking to sell off our farms. The main one is that we’re having a strategic review, and the farms business is no longer core.
“There is an impression that most of the food we produce on our farms goes to our Co-op Food stores, but that is not the case; less than three per cent goes to our stores. The rest of the crops mostly go to wholesalers, and they are then dispersed to retailers.
“With our farms business, we are very open to offers from various parties. We are open to all things and will consider them, and there is no upper time limit by which we need to sell the farms.”
When asked about the effect that the sell-out may have upon farm workers, Mr Brady said: “It’s difficult to say at the moment, as it depends what the land is used for.”