"This isn't about me packing up," emphasises Mr Shepherd, who will focus on sales for the newly enlarged business. "We've discussed the possibility of joining forces on a couple of occasions in the past and the agreement we've reached now suits us both very well."James Hunt describes the merging of the two businesses as a great opportunity: "It's taken JPM Agricultural to a new level that would have taken longer and been more difficult to achieve in any other way," he says.
"I now have a fully-fledged parts business looked after by Phil Parrish, a very experienced and diligent parts manager; a bigger retail shop stocking Granit tools and accessories; and the potential to increase sales by having new tractor and implement franchises for the first time,” he adds. "Being able to rely on Marc and his new equipment sales experience will give me more time to manage the business while remaining closely involved in our workshop and hire services."JPM Agricultural was set up almost five years ago after James Hunt gained extensive experience of machinery and tractor repairs across a number of makes at different dealerships in the area. He started hiring out trailers and manure spreaders as a sideline, then decided to go it alone by purchasing his own van for on-farm servicing and repairs."I then added tractors to the hire fleet; last year we ran 12 of them and four spreaders, and that side of the business will continue," says Mr Hunt. "Now, having been awarded the McCormick tractor franchise for the territory previously covered by MW Shepherd, we can also supply new tractors, as well as the various implement lines Marc handled."JPM Agricultural’s McCormick territory takes in the north-east of Lincolnshire and a diversity of farms that includes Marc Shepherd’s main customer base amongst livestock farmers and James Hunt’s arable customers."The McCormick range is well suited to our situation because of the different models and power outputs available," James points out.From the X10 and GM series compacts starting at 22hp, the McCormick line-up caters for livestock farmers with the 74hp to 110hp Perkins-engined C-Max and T-Max, and the new 92hp to 120hp X60 Series that has replaced the venerable CX.It then features the well-specced four-cylinder MC series up to 126hp, the 117hp to 141hp six-cylinder MTX and the new X70 Series spanning 150hp to 232hp.Service and repair work across all products supplied by JPM Agricultural is handled mainly by two experienced service technicians, Barry Lowis and Philip Hunt (James' brother), and they will soon be attending the McCormick service training courses to get fully up to speed on the current models.As for Marc Shepherd, in his role as sales manager he is busy visiting farmers to see what he can do to help them with their machinery and tractor purchases."It's what I enjoy doing most," he says. "And you'll still find me every week at Louth market ready to discuss a deal."