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Diversification – what’s new for 2019

5th December 2018

According to Defra’s most recent Farm Business Survey, two-thirds of farm businesses in England have already diversified, generating a total income of £620 million during 2016/17. In Wales recent statistics highlight that 38% of farmers have diversified their farm business.

With diversification such a hot topic at the moment we thought we’d highlight some of the opportunities and trends that farmers could take advantage of, whether looking for a new project or wanting to add value to an existing diversification.

Top diversification trends for UK farmers include:

• Energy Subsidies for renewable energy may not be as favourable as they were five years ago but that should not put off those thinking of developing a new project.

• Forestry New Biomass heating systems and multi-fuel household stoves have helped market demand. Favourable Government grant schemes for felling and replanting offer woodland owners a chance to make positive returns on their assets.

• Free-range eggs Egg production could offer opportunities for farmers struggling with sheep and dairy enterprises as demand grows. Supermarkets and consumers have increasingly turned away from caged bird eggs, creating opportunities. While the costs are fairly high to start, there are high rewards. Returns from the sector are significant given the fairly small area of land required.

• Nature There are now schemes available that can help you benefit from the land and environment around your farm by helping to preserve it.

• Brew a Beer This country’s craft beer industry is booming. With just over 50 hop farmers in the UK at present, the British Hop Association advises anyone looking to grow hops would need to plant a minimum of 10ha to make it a worthwhile enterprise.

• Wedding venue Statistics show only about 27% of couples now choose a church or religious building for their wedding ceremony, alternative venues are hot topics. Converted barns are popular with their rustic charm contributing to a truly romantic atmosphere.

Richard Corbett, Partner, said, “Our team of professional chartered surveyors have a long, successful, track record in helping farmers diversify. If you would like us to give you advice on which type of diversification would work best on your farm please get in touch.”