GEA has acquired South West dealer Venture Dairy Services in a deal which will consolidate its presence in the region and improve its offering to dairy producers.
Venture – a family-owned dealership led by Norma Horwood – has been operating across Devon and Cornwall for over 35 years and has developed a strong relationship with dairy farmers across the region. A one-stop shop for dairy farmers, Venture offers sales, service, and maintenance for milking, slurry and feed handling equipment, as well as electrical installations. It covers everything from design and consultancy through to installation, plumbing and fabrication.
“The Horwoods did a great job of building this amazing business, and we’re very happy to continue their legacy,” says Simon Redfearn, senior director of the farm technologies division at GEA. “It’s a fantastic dealership, with about 30 employees, and we look forward to working with them to continue growing the business.”
The family links remain strong, with Tim’s brother also working for GEA, and the firm will continue operating under its existing name from its premises in Holsworthy and St Erth. “GEA works with independent dealers all over the UK, and has only one other directly-owned dealer; Dairy Flow in Scotland,” explains Mr Redfearn. “Having that direct relationship with farmers will further improve our understanding of their needs. We will also be able to offer improved internal engineer training, the strong financial backing of GEA, and the full breadth of technical services and products for our customers.”
Venture has been working with GEA from the day Norma’s husband Tim founded the business. Very sadly, he passed away two years ago, and it’s only right to continue that partnership, says Mrs Horwood. “It’s the best thing to take the business forward. Our customers are very pleased that GEA is taking over, rather than anyone else, and our staff’s jobs are safe – I wanted to make sure the business was always there,” she explains.
The business previously dealt in conventional GEA parlours, so the team is excited to be adding robotic parlours to its repertoire, adds Mrs Horwood. “At the moment I’m still helping out to ensure a smooth handover, but they are such nice people at GEA – I know the business is in safe hands.”
GEA supplies robotic and conventional milking parlours, automatic scrapers and feeders and herd management systems, as well as equipment servicing, hygiene supplies, milk cooling, manure management and milk testing. “We will be looking to grow across the South West and bring in more apprentice engineers to an industry which has been struggling to attract young people,” says Mr Redfearn. “Venture was already booked to exhibit at the Royal Cornwall Show, and we look forward to meeting customers there.”
GEA is one of the world’s largest systems suppliers for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical sectors. The Farm Technologies Division offers integrated customer solutions for efficient, high-quality milk production and livestock farming. This includes automatic milking and feeding systems, conventional milking solutions and digital herd management tools. GEA manure management solutions ensure operators have the right tools for safe and efficient storage, application and upcycling of this important resource.
The portfolio also includes a wide range of hygiene products and chemicals to promote optimum udder health and highest milk quality. Roughly one quarter of processed milk globally comes from GEA production systems.