AtlasFram Group in Suffolk, the UK’s largest farmer-owned inputs purchasing and combinable crops marketing business, has strengthened its crop marketing department with the appointment of Paul Agazarian.
The department provides a marketing service for members’ cereals, oilseed rape and pulses.
Well-known throughout the agricultural industry, Agazarian has worked in the grain industry for most of his career and will be closely involved in assisting AtlasFram members to maximise returns from marketing their grain.
Based mainly at the group’s offices in Suffolk, he will also spend time in Cambridgeshire with the group’s strategic marketing partner ADM Direct, one of the UK’s Top 10 grain merchants.
From farming stock on the Essex/Suffolk border, Agazarian started his career with RHM Agriculture, which, alongside Kenneth Wilson and Dalgety, was one of the ‘big three’ grain merchants in the UK at the time.
Many farmers will also know him from his time with Hertfordshire-based Samco & Shrim Farmers Ltd which he joined in 1996, together with his previous position with Cambridgeshire-based Fengrain.
Paul Agazarian said: “Increasing global demand for grain and significant reduction in ‘stocks-to-use’ ratios for most grains has created a fine balance between supply and demand and even small variations between expected and actual supplies can create massive price movements in price.
“Marketing crops effectively requires access to top-quality information, the ability to interpret it correctly and knowledge of the best time to sell. Even farmers who are very knowledgeable about the grain markets and follow the sector closely now find it very difficult to know what to do for the best.
“Selling grain on a traditional system has become much more difficult and in-depth knowledge of grain production costs has therefore become very important in assessing the best route to market.
“The combination of ADM and Atlas Fram’s experience allows us to provide our Members with completely unbiased advice combined with access to a wide range of marketing options, including pools, specific milling wheat contracts and harvest collection or post-harvest storage deals for rapeseed. These are a valuable aid to risk management and help to iron out the constant fluctuations that look likely to continue.
“This is highly significant because the prices which farmers achieve for their crops can have as much, if not more, impact on overall financial returns as yield, which has traditionally been the focus of their attention. The top-performing farm businesses produce higher-than-average yields, have lower-than-average fixed/variable costs and place much greater emphasis on crop marketing, rather than simply ‘selling’ when they need space or money.
“We appreciate that every farm situation is different and work closely with Members to develop a professional crop marketing strategy takes into account a wide range of factors, including their storage and marketing needs, cash-flow requirements, requirement for incremental sales and price targets.
“Because of this approach the volume of grain and oilseed rape which the AtlasFram Crop Marketing Department handles on behalf of Members has grown significantly since the alliance with ADM Direct was initiated in 2010.”