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Peter Hill

Roger Smith sells Old Pond to 5M

Published on 22nd April 2014

Roger SmithGuild member Roger Smith has retired after selling his Old Pond Publishing concern, specialising in books and DVDs on agricultural and other land-based industry topics. The buyer, 5M Publishing, which produces a number of farming subject websites and technical publications, intends developing the business.

Old Pond is a publisher of DVDs and books for enthusiasts in land-based and realted industries: farmers and smallholders, and workers in the earth-moving, forestry and heavy transport occupations. Topics covered are both modern and historical.

"My first job in book publishing was as an editor with the London company George Allen & Unwin in 1970, so I've been involved in the activity for 44 years," notes Roger. "I spent 19 of those years with Farming Press Books, during which I first commissioned a video – on sheepdog training – in 1991."

Roger started Suffolk-based Old Pond Publishing in 1998 and built up a comprehensive catalogue that includes the works of a number of fellow Guild members. They include Steven Vale, an agricultural and earthmovers machinery freelance based near Amsterdam; Chris Lockwood, who specialises in farm tractor and equipment photography and videos; and Stuart Gibbard, an expert journalist and writer on historical topics related to farm tractors and manufacturers.

Old Pond PublishingIn addition to archive film footage, there are books and DVDs on cattle, combines, farm cookery, demolition, earth-moving, East Anglia, farm machinery, forestry, goat-keeping, working horses, Land Army girls, rural history, model tractors, old photography, plant names, ploughing, poultry and ducks, practical farming, sea and rivers, sheep and lambing, sheepdogs and gun-dogs, steam traction engines, tractors, trucking and heavy loads.

For 5M parent Benchmark, James Banfield, managing director of the technical publishing division, says the acquisition will strengthen its position as a supplier of knowledge transfer, market analysis and e-commerce to the global food chain.

"Our Technical Publishing division serves over six million users across three continents and a we are constantly looking for ways to build and expand the service we offer our customers," he says. "This acquisition increases our digital catalogue and e-commerce service, and brings the potential for further growth."

Old Pond Publishing is now being operated by 5M Enterprises from the group's offices in Sheffield from where theCattleSite.com, thePigSite.com and similar trade news and technical websites are published.

Peter Hill

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