Half of UK farmers plan diversification schemes ahead of funding changes

Almost half of UK farmers (48%) are planning to set up or expand diversification schemes – a figure which has doubled since 2018. The UK’s exit from the European Union has sparked a 2020 ‘diversification drive’ ahead of the biggest shake-up in agricultural funding for decades . 

With changes to Government support and the way Britain trades with the rest of the world ahead, farmers are diversifying their businesses to boost profitability and fortify their farms for the future.

Are you one of the farmers  planning to set up or diversify your business following Brexit, perhaps moving into new areas such as tourism, hospitality, retail and renewable energy. 

This figure has doubled since research in 2018 found that 23% of farmers were planning to expand or start diversification enterprises.

If you are seeking to diversify your business to e.g a wedding venues, glamping or packaging and producing products by opening a farm shop or manufacturing cosmetics you will need to consider any legal implications. 

Research shows nearly half of UK farmers are either looking into setting up new businesses on their land or expanding existing ideas, with a quarter planning to diversify in order to create business opportunities for family members.

DEFRA statistics show that diversification activity brought in £740m of income in 2018/19 – up 6% on the previous year.

Diversification means using your farm’s assets, such as its land, buildings or machinery to develop a new business activity.

Diversification ventures usually set out to provide additional revenue and can complement the agricultural activity or may even, over time, replace it.

Before you start, consider:

• Do you have the skills, resources and commitment to make it work or would it be a distraction from the core farm business? 

• Have you fully reviewed your farm business and identified strengths and areas where you can add value to your existing model?

• What are your assets – from people, land, location, buildings, finance to skills – and have you realised their full potential?

• What market and demand is there for your diversification venture?

• What makes your farm unique and sets you apart from the competition?

• Have you asked the experts for advice? For example, seeking legal advise at the planning stage to ensure you understand the risks. 

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