Back in 1977 two large private companies supplied superphosphate in New Zealand. When Kempthorne Prosser announced it was going to be buying its rival, Dunedin-based Dominion fertilisers, farmers were up in arms, and the gumboot revolution began.
Already frustrated by rising input costs and falling fertiliser quality, they would now be at the mercy of a monopoly. Then as now, fertiliser is a significant cost, second only to servicing farm debt.
The presidents of the South Canterbury, Otago and North Otago Federated Farmers went to farmers in the area to ask them to become founding members of a new co-operative. Ravensdown eventually mounted a takeover bid for KP which was completed on 16 August 1978.