The family owners of John Deere dealerships R Hunt Ltd and New Forest Farm Machinery Ltd have signed an agreement to merge their two businesses under the new name Hunt Forest Group. The agreement will take effect on January 1, 2019 and until that time the two dealers will continue to trade as they do today.

Tim Hunt will become managing director of the new business while Ed Smales, the current dealer principal of New Forest Farm Machinery, will take a director’s role. Hunt Forest Group will continue to operate from the same outlets across southern England, with the same staff.

R Hunt is a longstanding John Deere agricultural and homeowner equipment dealer with four outlets covering Wiltshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey and the Isle of Wight. It has been a John Deere dealer since 1971 and currently employs 71 staff.

New Forest Farm Machinery is an agricultural, professional turf, homeowner and construction equipment dealer employing 43 people and trading from two outlets, one in Hampshire and one at recently opened turf premises in Somerset. It has been a John Deere agricultural dealer since 1979 and has held the company’s turf franchise since 1986.

“Both companies are well-established, profitable businesses that place a strong emphasis on customer service, and the merger is perfectly aligned with our Dealer of Tomorrow strategy,” says John Deere’s division sales manager Joedy Ibbotson. “This will provide the new business with more resources for both customers and staff, more inventory, more product support capability and a greater knowledge base, all of which will help deliver an even more distinctive customer experience.”

R Hunt managing director Tim Hunt says: “Both families feel confident that this merger will help to establish Hunt Forest Group as a frontline ag and turf dealer in the UK. The emphasis is very much on the ability for both companies to grow and have the opportunity to engage with more customers, with a more diversified product line-up for the entire business.”

New Forest Farm Machinery managing director Ed Smales adds: “We are excited about working with the Hunt family to further grow our business as Hunt Forest Group. Their experience in large ag machinery and precision farming will enhance the customer experience within our existing territory and help us create a more diverse and robust dealer business for the future.”