Lincolnshire-based Cope Seeds & Grain has a new majority owner after managing director Gemma Clarke bought the majority interest in the business from her father Trevor Cope, who founded the business in 2003.

Ms Cope joined the business in 2008, since when she has helped build it into the UK’s largest organic seed producer, supporting regenerative farming practices and low input varieties. She oversaw the move to new offices in Sleaford and the expansion of the sales team. Trevor Cope, who has 47 years’ experience working in the seed industry will remain in the company as chairman and in an advisory role.

“I’m confident we can continue to grow the business in line with our vision to ensure farmers get the best varieties and advice for a new era in agriculture,” says Ms Clarke. “With the spotlight on sustainability for both the environment and farm businesses, we are creating more bespoke buy-back contracts for our leading organic and conventional varieties to give farmers market security.

“Covid-19 has exaggerated the need for robust, transparent supply chains and we’re excited to be launching new varieties, new contracts, and new industry initiatives to help to support British food and farming as we transition to a new subsidy framework and prioritise the environment even more,” she concludes.

“Gemma has developed strong working relationships with the company’s existing customer base while overseeing considerable growth in new clients and she continues to develop our relationships with a number of continental plant breeding partners,” adds Mr Clarke. “She identified that the business needs to look at new areas and directions to grow and keep pace with the ever-changing face of agriculture. I am confident that Gemma will achieve her goals and that the company and its staff will prosper under her leadership.”