People should be more aware of the importance of the agriculture sector to the economy in general.
That’s the message the boss of a successful Wrexham machinery firm which itself started down on the farm will have for business leaders next month.
Paul Reeves, Managing Director of Malpas Tractors, is one of the keynote speakers at the next meeting of Wrexham Business Professionals (WBP) in the Catrin Finch Centre at Glyndwr University on Thursday June 8.
The group is made up of successful businesses and highly skilled professional firms of solicitors, accountants and other business professionals working together to raise the profile of enterprise and expertise that exists in the region and beyond.
The topic for discussion is Powering Regional Prosperity – Growing the Welsh Economy and it will have a distinctly agricultural feel.
The other guest speakers will be Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs and Assembly Member for Wrexham, and John Mercer, Director of The National farmers’ Union Cymru.
Paul took over the running of Malpas Tractors in 2006 from his parents who founded the firm and it has since grown into a major concern with a chain of depots across North Wales and the North West of England.
Based on Wrexham Industrial Estate, it is a main line supplier of some of the biggest names in agricultural machinery including New Holland tractors and harvesters, Kuhn Farm Machinery mowers, feeders and cultivation equipment, Hi-Spec feeder wagons, slurry tankers, slurry pumps and industrial tankers.
It also deals in Bomford hedgecutters, Simba cultivation equipment, Trima & Quicke loaders and groundcare machinery for the professional and leisure industry.
The company has its roots in the Cheshire countryside where husband and wife Edward and Rachael Reeves started it off working the farm they still own in Malpas not far from the Welsh border.
Back in 1983 the couple, as joint directors, started to repair and service their own farm and contracting machinery.
By 1987 the workshop had grown in importance as they were also servicing their neighbours’ machinery.
Around this time the Reeves were approached by Ford Tractors, now CNH, to set up a new dealership in the Wrexham area.
This opened for business in 1988 when they relocated the business from the farm to rented premises at Croes-y-mab, Marchwiel, where they were based until 1993.
After five years the couple decided to expand to the current site on Wrexham Industrial Estate.
Over the years Malpas Tractors has had an impressive haul of national accolades from New Holland which include Mark of Excellence awards in 1989 and 1998 and the overall award wins for 1998 and 2002. The award is given annually by New Holland to its dealers to reward outstanding service and customer satisfaction in all areas.
After the closure of the New Holland dealers in Cheshire and Lancashire, Malpas Tractors was offered the opportunity to expand into these areas and during 2002 the company opened a new depot at Holmes Chapel in Cheshire from which it covers Cheshire and South Lancashire.
The company has since also opened depots in Denbigh and Lathom near Ormskirk in Lancashire.
But, according to Paul Reeves, its original Clywedog Road South location remains at the heart of the company.
He said: “We prefer to stay in Wrexham because it’s not only a good place to do business from but also at the geographic centre of all our territory from mid-Lancashire to Llanrwst.
“We’ve recently invested heavily in building a new workshop facility at Wrexham. It is very much our headquarters and will stay that way.
“We’re still very close to our original agricultural roots and very reliant upon the farming sector for our business.
“I think more people should be aware of how important the agricultural sector is to industry in general. It’s not just about farming but also businesses like electricians, vets and plumbers.
“I know that our business is linked very much to the price of milk as we sell quite a lot of machinery to the dairy industry.
“Some people these days also tend to forget where lots of their food comes from, which is of course farms. We should also be using more home-grown food rather than importing it from abroad.
“I also believe that there should be as much support as possible for agricultural food producers from both the Welsh and UK governments.”
Paul added: “I’m looking forward very much to speaking to Wrexham Business Professionals on these themes because it is a forum for influential people from across the professions.”
Gill Kreft, the Chair of Wrexham Business Professionals, said: “Agriculture is a mainstay of the regional economy in North Wales and companies like Malpas Tractors have an important role in powering regional prosperity.
“We are looking forward to hearing more from Paul Reeves as well as having the insights of Lesley Griffiths, who is a long-term supporter of Wrexham Business Professionals, and John Mercer.”