Seed companies merge

From one family to another: AGF Seeds managing director Andrew McNaughton and Smyth Seeds director Mike Smyth.

Benalla-based family-owned business Smyth Seeds has been bought by AGF Seeds.

The purchase marks the first time AGF Seeds has grown beyond its home base of Smeaton, near Ballarat.

AGF Seeds will maintain its main processing, packing, warehouse and administration facility at Smeaton, while the former Smyth Seeds premises in Benalla will remain open as a warehouse, blending, packing and distribution point.

AGF Seeds director David Toose said Smyth Seeds was a great fit and brought together two 100 per cent Australian family-owned businesses with decades of experience.

“When Smyth Seeds announced their business was for sale AGF was immediately interested as the Smyth brand was well known for the quality of their products and their knowledge, and it seemed to be a good fit as we are similar companies with similar ethics and we have been looking to expand our marketing opportunities,” Mr Toose said.

“Smyth Seeds has been a good contributor to the seed industry for nearly 70 years and we look forward to continuing that tradition.”

AGF Seeds has a history of three generations of seed producers, processors and — more recently — seed marketing to bring the wide world of seed to Australian farmers.

“We have capacity to do more production and expand the product range, and this acquisition will help us to distribute product into north-east Victoria,” Mr Toose said.

“It will improve access to products for existing AGF Seeds clients while continuing to serve Smyth Seeds’ clients. We already have sales people in the area and this will give them a base and inventory.”

Smyth Seeds founder Mick Smyth was a founding member of the Seed Industry Association of Australia — now the Australian Seed Federation — and the now-defunct Seed Merchants Association of Victoria.

His son, Smyth Seeds director Mike Smyth, continued the business with his other brother John, who retired about six years ago as a life member of the Australian Seed Federation.

Mike Smyth said he was pleased the company was going to a like-minded family business.

“We’re particularly pleased with the people we’ve sold it to,” he said.

“We’ve known David for decades and we see AGF as a company of similar background.”

Mr Smyth said Smyth Seeds had enjoyed a long history as independent traders of quality pasture seed.

“It’s 70 years this year that our father started in the seed industry,” he said.

“John and I have been involved in the seed industry all our working lives.”

Smyth Seeds’ last day of operation is October 29.

John and Mike Smyth will continue to run a cattle farm in the Benalla region.