Wooler farm purchase will give boost to cereal grower

John Morton from RBS with Mark Robson from Messrs Robson.jpg
John Morton from RBS with Mark Robson from Messrs Robson.jpg

A cereal and potato farmer has taken on his third arable farm at Weetwood Hill, near Wooler, which could increase turnover by up to 15 per cent.

Messrs Robsons was set up 40 years ago by Mark and Judy Robson and farms a 330 acre site in Kelso and a 700 acre site 12 miles away in Wooler.

Growing cereal and potatoes, the firm’s main clients are McCoys crisps and the major supermarkets.

The firm is now in the hands of their son, also named Mark, who saw an opportunity to purchase a third farm that would enable the farmers to expand.

Working with John Morton, senior relationship manager at RBS in Kelso, Mark secured significant funding from the bank, backed by the Government’s Funding for Lending scheme.

This enabled him to buy the third farm at Weetwood Hill which almost borders the existing Wooler site.

The purchase provides arable land that allows the farm to diversify in the face of recent difficulties such as the coldest spring in 50 years.

Mark said: “We turned to RBS for help as we’ve been with them for more than 20 years. We dealt with John Morton who was extremely helpful and flexible. It was great to have someone on our side who understands the long-term view. Our lead-in times can be from two and a half to three years so monthly budgeting for us is pointless.

“It’s been a very tricky year with a negative impact on our turnover, profits, costs and sanity but hopefully we’ll have less extreme conditions to work in this season.

“Nothing is straightforward in farming but we’re very grateful for RBS for helping us with the cash to expand and accelerate growth. It’s hard to predict the impact of the new farm on our turnover but it could be between 10 and 15 per cent.”