Potato grower keeps eye on the future with help from RBS

Potato grower keeps eye on the future with help from RBS

Messrs Robsons was set up 40 years ago by Mark and Judy Robson, and is now in the hands of their son, also named Mark. The firm farms a 330 acre site in Kelso and a 700 acre site 12 miles away in Wooler, Northumberland.

John Morton of RBS with Mark Robson

When Mark identified an opportunity to purchase a third site, he approached RBS for funding.

Growing cereal and potatoes, Messrs Robson’s main clients are McCoys crisps and the major supermarkets. Following a difficult year in which severe weather had a negative impact on the operation’s turnover, profits and costs, Mark was keen to plan for the future.

Working with his Relationship Manager, John Morton, Mark was able to secure funding from RBS as part of its participation in the Government’s Funding for Lending scheme, making it free of any arrangement fees.

This enabled him to buy the third farm at Weetwood Hill, which almost borders the existing Wooler site. The purchase provides arable land that will allow the farm to diversify.

Understanding the long view

Speaking about the good working relationship Messrs Robson has with RBS, Mark commented: “We turned to RBS for help as we’ve been with them for more than 20 years. John was extremely helpful and flexible. He didn’t require us to be formal and was always available to chat things through. It was great to have someone on our side that 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.”

John was pleased to be able to help, “The Robson family has banked with RBS for decades and it’s great to see where they’ve come from and direction they’re going in,” he says, “This addition will help the business continue to explore new markets and ensure organic growth.”

It is hoped that the impact of the new farm will produce an increase in turnover of between 10 and 15%.

Mark says: “Nothing is straightforward in farming but we’re very grateful to RBS for helping us with the cash to expand and accelerate growth.”

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