A family-owned dairy dealership with premises in Devon and Cornwall has been bought by an international supplier.

Venture Dairy Services, a family-owned dealership led by Norma Horwood that has been operating for more than 35 years, has been bought by GEA.

Venture will continue operating under its existing name from its premises in Holsworthy and St Erth, offering sales, service, and maintenance for milking, slurry and feed handling equipment, as well as electrical installations to dairy farmers.

GEA is one of the world’s largest systems suppliers for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical sectors, with its farm technologies division offering solutions for efficient, high-quality milk production and livestock farming.

“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.

“GEA works with independent dealers all over the UK, and has only one other directly-owned dealer; Dairy Flow in Scotland.

“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. Tim's brother currently works for GEA so the family link will remain.

Very sadly, Tim passed away two years ago, and it’s only right to continue that partnership, said 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 explained.

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The business previously dealt in conventional GEA parlours and now robotic parlours will be added to its repertoire. Mrs Horwood said: “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.”

“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,” said Mr Redfearn. “Venture was already booked to exhibit at the Royal Cornwall Show, and we look forward to meeting customers there.”