A CHICHESTER storage co-operative for farmers has expanded with the help of NatWest.
Chichester Grain is a farmer-owned co-operative, set-up 40 years ago.
Its purpose is to provide arable farmers in Sussex and Hampshire with crops storage space and a grain dryer service.
With 37 members, Chichester Grain employs a manager and three seasonal members of staff during the busy summer period.
Having reached full capacity, the co-operative was looking to expand its storage offer as well as to upgrade the existing equipment within the store.
Chichester Grain chairman, Jonathan Bentall, worked with Simon Suter, senior agriculture manager, at NatWest’s Chichester branch, to secure the funding for the £500,000 equipment upgrade. The installation of four new 250-tonne grain hoppers and upgrading the intake pits will transform turnaround times, reducing them by half. Chichester Grain’s daily grain intake capacity will also increase to 2,000 tonnes, up 30 per cent from 1,500 tonnes.
“This is a great development for Chichester Grain,” said Mr Bentall.
“We are hugely excited about being able to offer our members this level of efficiency and they can pass on the benefits to their own businesses.
“The past few years have been a difficult time for everyone involved in farming, but this year is looking more positive.
“Our priority is to continue to provide local farmers with as much support as possible to ensure their farms thrive. NatWest have been critical in supporting Chichester Grain to deliver first-class support to the local farming community.”
NatWest’s Mr Suter said: “Chichester Grain is a core part of our local agricultural economy, enabling farmers to maximise their business’ individual potential. Jonathan and his team are committed to supporting their members and NatWest is delighted to be part of this exciting new development.”