RAMSAK is well known for its pleasant team, willingness to help and infinite knowledge of who has which bit of kit.

The Ring of Agricultural Machinery in Sussex And Kent was founded around the delivery of all the good services that a well run machinery ring could provide and it is still there – larger, more efficient and delivered by its indefatigable field team.

What is changing is the identification of the broader business of the group, for RAMSAK does so much more these days. The fuel, the feed, the stock management, the veterinary medicines and all the other services centrally negotiated by the team are being given a new title – agrena. “Differentiating the different divisions of the business is important for growth into new sectors,” explained Ramsak/agrena director Jonathan West. “With the adoption of the agrena name and branding we widen the scope for members and increase the numbers who benefit from the knowledge and connections of our team.”

The board has been in discussion with the team, supported by Sarah Calcutt of PiP Ltd, examining what the future could hold for the group. What became apparent was that while the RAMSAK name had meaning and history in the traditional agricultural market place, it was a title that would need explaining outside that circle. “We spent a lot of time looking for an available name that sounded and felt rural and practical without appearing too sector specific,” said Ms Calcutt. “We put the agrena name forward after a little market testing gave it a positive outlook.”

One important move that the board has made is the appointment of Karen Wheeler as group manager going forward for the RAMSAK group of companies. From 1 December, these will be RAMSAK Ltd, trading as agrena, and also Pitchfork Events Ltd, of which Karen is already a director. Karen is well known to all members, through her pivotal role in developing the Agri and Equi expo events and also as secretary of the Weald of Kent Ploughing Match Association. The board is confident that this will be a popular choice both with the members and the field team and be highly beneficial to the performance of the business as it grows. The member facing team remains the same, with Karen, Lynsey, Rosie and Anita who are now joined by Jo in the office.
The performance of the group outside the machinery ring is substantial. Did you know that RAMSAK supplied over six million litres of fuel last year, tonnes of fodder and miles of fencing supplies? The ring also hired in over 200 items of plant, and of course hosted the lorry loads of machinery that came to the Agri-Expo exhibition.

So now the group is fit for the future, geared for growth, and exploring new areas. Who could be a member? Membership of agrena is available to all who need agricultural and rural supplies and services: existing members will not be affected in any way by the name change.

The existing agrena membership ranges from large estates to farms with only a few acres and smallholdings, as well as private individuals who live in the rural community. All make good use of the huge range of services and supplies membership offers.
Many of the supplier base offer special discounts and deals exclusively to agrena members, and so it quickly becomes apparent how cost effective membership can be. The most obvious of these is with fuel supplies. agrena receives preferential pricing for its members, so alongside a great reliable service, members quickly recoup their membership fee and from then on they keep on saving money every time they order, especially with special offers and deals from many of the commodity and service suppliers.

In recent times, forage procurement and sales have played a more important part of the business, with customers as diverse as European buyers to small equine units. Through the extensive network of cooperatives across the UK, the group is never restricted by location, and so has the ability to source hay and straw, fuel and even plant hire wherever it’s needed country wide.

The agrena team exists to provide help wherever and whenever possible so that members can maximise on the services they can supply or need. The ultimate aim of agrena is to become a one stop shop for all services and supplies that are required within the rural community of Kent, East and West Sussex and Surrey.
Next month the agrena board and members talk about the future