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Saturday, 02 May 2015 15:36

Farmers warming to service hubs

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Fonterra’s new Farm Source hub opens in Southland. Fonterra’s new Farm Source hub opens in Southland.

About 9000 Fonterra farmers have so far bought goods and services via the co-op’s new Farm Source rewards scheme, earning $3 million in reward dollars.

Farm Source stores director Jason Minkhorst says fuel and electricity are among their purchases.

There are now three South Island stores – Methven and Culverden in Canterbury and new this month at Otautau in Southland.

The first North Island hub will open in Marton in the next few months.

Minkhorst says Farm Source supports farmers, offering them a convenient home base to use in town.

“We already have a network of rural retail stores we’re building on and expanding so farmers can access more support…. Before Otautau farmers needed to drive to Invercargill for supplies… or wait for the team to visit them.”

Otautau’s Farm Source store manager David Sinclair says the team there includes sales assistants, a technical sales representative and an area manager “who have a good understanding of the regional conditions, council regulations and what’s important to our farmers here”.

The store sells rural supplies and offers access to exclusive deals and facilities like meeting rooms, free wifi or drop-in space to make a coffee and relax.

Minkhorst says the roll-out of the Farm Source stores will happen over time. “We know things are tough… right now so are only making necessary improvements to our existing stores.”

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