26 February 2018, 12:00AM

When Bob Johnson and Craig Chandler started their irrigation business 15 years ago, their goal was a simple one - to give their customers the best service possible.

Working out of a relocatable shed on Bob’s farm for the first few years, TEAM Irrigation offered something no one else had at the time - a seven day a week back-up service to complement their installation and design work.

“Coming from a rural background myself I know what it’s like when you have crops starting to die because of a breakdown and it needs to be fixed pronto - especially in this heat,” said Bob.

Over the years the business expanded from their Dubbo base to service the Riverina, Hunter Valley and into Southern Queensland, making them one of the largest regional irrigation distributors in the country.

But there was only so far the two partners could take it on their own.

From March 1st, the nationally renowned Ruralco Water Group will acquire the business.

TEAM Irrigation will become part of a network with more than 70 locations Australia wide and 40 years of industry experience behind it.

Craig and Bob said the opportunity to secure innovative technologies and enhance the business’s buying power was too good to refuse, particularly with Bob planning to retire at the end of June.

“We realised what it would mean for our clients if TEAM Irrigation became part of the Ruralco group with their extensive network of sales doors and dealerships and overall coverage of the rural community,” said Craig.

“It will give us a depth we don’t currently have and enable us to access many new resources.

“They are extremely focused on water and have access to things such as water brokers and agronomists that will give us so many more strings to our bow to draw upon.”

“We are very fortunate to have found someone who will take this business further than we ever could on our own.”

As part of the deal, Craig will be appointed to the role of General Manager for at least the next three years, ensuring their clients still have the same friendly face to liaise with.

Bob says he will retire in June with the satisfaction of having been successful in an industry he feels so passionate about.

“It feels pretty good to start something from nothing and watch it grow to the point where a big corporate wants to buy it,” said Bob.

“At the same time, after all we have been through together, Craig and I are still on the handshake and have maintained a trust in each other. That’s really important to me and I’m very proud of what we have achieved.”