The first farm was acquired at Roden, Shropshire in 1896 in order to supply potatoes to local societies' stores. By 1918, the then Co-operative Wholesale Society already farmed a total of 32,648 acres (13,212 ha) across England.
Following the merger of CWS and Co-operative Retail Services in 2001, CWS Agriculture became known as Farmcare. It was rebranded as The Co-operative Farms in 2007.
On 4 August 2014, the business was sold to the Wellcome Trust for £249 million, to reduce The Co-operative Group debt following its financial crisis in 2013, and now trades as Farmcare Trading Limited. At the time of the sale, The Co-operative Farms owned 39,533 acres (15,998 ha) of land organised as 15 farms, and more than 100 residential and 27 commercial properties.