I dropped in to the Dales Agri Sales Workshop the other day to thank Charlie Halliday for donating the brilliant round and extending table to the Charity Auction — it fits perfectly into our dining room!
While I was there, I took the opportunity to find out a bit more about the business as well. Dales Agri Sales Agency has been in business for the past seventeen years. Started at his house on the New Line, Charlie moved formal premises into the Station Industrial Estate some twelve years ago.
This agency business, selling new agricultural equipment, renovating older models, and keeping farmers running in all sorts of ways, was a development after some 28 years working for a plough manufacturing concern, where Charlie had started at the age of 22.
The company is the main UK distributor for Agri-Spread, a family owned agricultural machinery manufacturer based in Ballyhaunis Co Mayo, Northern Ireland, for ERTH Engineering, a farm equipment manufacturing concern based in Co Down, Northern Ireland, and for Kivi Pekka, a company based in Finland that specialises in stone-picking machines. As Charlie says, his agency fills a specific niche market, offering some of the best dedicated farming machinery in the world.
The Dales Agri Sales Agency has three employees, one of whom arrived ten years ago for a two week assessment, and is still in position today. From its storage depot in Haltwhistle, the company can ship equipment to Australia and New Zealand in large containers. Business is thriving.
Charlie didn’t say during our chat, but I happen to know that he was once the champion of the National Ploughing competition, and a decade ago he was the chairman of the Society of Ploughmen. He’s also, as it happens the chair of the Whitfield Show, a lovely event that we’ve featured in the diary as it happened this year. Every year, he says, they try to have something just a little different; one year they had a Laurel and Hardy act, another year a pair of Clydesdale workhorses. A big steam traction engine is a regular feature of the show.
Someday, Charlie says, he’ll retire, and perhaps someone from among his loyal staff will take over. But until then, it looks like he’s having too much fun running his business, enjoying life, keeping things running in the farming community.