Farm Diversification: 400+ Ways To Diversify Your Farm Income

Posted On: August 27, 2018 Published by | View Comments

Contents

Within this guide we hope to offer much food for strategic thought on the matter of diversifying your farm-related business


Farm diversification is all about finding profitable uses or applications for resources which you might already have on your working premises.

For one reason or another, you might be thinking of complimenting your core farming business with alternative (diverse) revenue sources.

Diversification is, by definition, the act of adding further products or services to your existing marketing mix.

…a SmallholdingsForSale Definition

“How should I diversify my farm business income?”

There are no hard and fast rules to diversification.

Your newly added products or services could either be ‘related to’ (extensions of) your established farm business, or it could be entirely ‘unrelated’ ( i.e. startup).

“Do I need a loan or grant to diversify my farm?”

No.

You need a business plan.

That’s where we can help. We are professionally qualified consultants in business diversification.

Our first talk, however, is free.

“I need farm diversification advice…where should I start?”

Farm diversification is a matter of strategy.

Running a farm of any size or type is demanding and labour intensive – albeit to varying degrees.

Generally, capital investment is also required to equip new ventures e.g. machinery, buildings, modifications, marketing etc.

Getting the maximum return (profit) for your efforts is the key to running a successful and long lasting agricultural business.

This guide lays out the step by step approach our professionals take to helping farms like yours diversify to become more stable.

“What are the key success factors for farm diversification?”

Diversifying your farm business requires dedicated resource allocation, lots of nurture, keen oversight, enduring patience – not to mention lots of grunt work to get it off the ground.

Diversification is nuts and bolts. It’s functionality over style.

“What are the advantages of farm diversification?”

Typical motives for diversification are:

  • Minimizing trading losses…
  • Break out of seasonality…
  • Business growth…
  • Cross selling opportunities…
  • Attracting a new customer base…
  • Spreading commercial risk…
  • Exit planning/succession…
  • Hold market territory…

Whatever your reasons for diversifying your farming enterprise, we hope you find this guide excellent value to help you along your way to success.

Breaking Down The Essentials Of Farm Diversification

understanding farm diversification

Within this chapter we explore the principals governing farm diversification.

In order to diversify, you first need to have a solid understanding of core business and it’s parameters.

These primary building blocks will suffice a kind of framework for building constructive ideas for farm diversification & assessing all viable opportunities.

Within reason, an agricultural operation like a farm will typically have characteristic features.

Some farms will have more emphasis on one or more particular features over and above others, but generally the contents of a farm are going to be quite predictable, by definition.

Here is a summary of agricultural capital assets which help define the character of small farms, as we see it:

  1. Fields/Land
  2. Buildings
  3. Livestock
  4. Natural Features
  5. Machinery
  6. Staff
  7. Specialist Installations i.e. something different installed on-site
  8. Inventory
  9. Agricultural by-product
  10. IT Infrastructure
  11. Tree Produce
  12. Garden

The points above are fairly self-explanatory.

We feel the capital assets of most farm operations will fall into one of the ten categories above.

Each one the numbered points above really comprises an asset class.

Within each class there are countless sub sections and types.

The idea at this stage is simply to frame our thinking before tackling more free thinking stages of farm diversification planning.

This way we build on substance early on and hopefully arrive at a much more fruitful and ordered destination.

An Outline Of A Farm Diversification Business Plan

farm diversification business plan

Reasons to diversify: strategic rationale

As noted above, diversification is a matter of strategy.

Business is all about…”serving customers profitably.”

Successful businesses apply equal emphasis to both serving value to customers, as well as profitability.

This is financially sustainable business practice.

Without financial sustainability and growth, your business will get outstripped by growing costs and shifting threats.

Customers who value what you do uniquely and who supply your business with increasing financial profitability is the key.

The future health of your farming enterprise will depend upon its robustness to ride out increasing challenges within its marketplace.

Also, maintaining financial viability to remain suitably resourced is key.

Having enough strategic agility to take advantage of investing in commercial opportunities when they arrive is also critical to survival.

Problem identification is the beginning of a farm diversification plan.

To begin with, simply declare the internal problems being faced within the current commercial conditions.

These are the strategic drivers for diversification.

The impact that such a move to diversify will have on your current organisational set-up and staffing is an important part of forward planning.

Starting afresh in a new direction will require a hands-on expense of labour.

Not just merely in ‘operations’, but also in support activity, like administration, or cleaning.

These man hours need to be accounted for and included in your plans.

Technological adaptation is also worth thinking about.

Will your new business venture require the investment of specialist kit?

If so, what are the permutations – will there be additional training involved, or staff changes required?

Resource utility (modification & maximise)

How well is the ownership of your current farm resources, capital equipment, and assets being converted into optimal profitability?

Any spare resource capacity reflects inefficiency within your farming operation, where much valued profitability is being lost.

Think of it much in the same way as leaky pipes.

The more leaks in the system, the lower the benefit delivered to the user & increased loss.

The opposite is also applicable.

Put is this way – the more time that your equipment, staff or assets spend dormant, the more of an item of expense they become.

Therefore, the less profitable.

As with anything in business, before you go ahead with following through with any idea, you must first do your due diligence.

You must calculate if the opportunity will be ‘worth‘ your while.

In other words, “…will this idea, after all expenses and overheads still a return a profit.

If the answer is, “…yes…“, then it’s viable on paper.

However, this doesn’t instantly mean a green light should be given to it.

In such cases, opportunities might yet be vetoed entirely, or placed on the back-burner for review at a future convenient strategic interval.

Strategic priority comes first.

Users & synergy

Consideration of your end users is integral to getting the most value out of your diversification strategy.

Seeing as it is the value proposition of products & services as perceived by end users that has most impact on profitability, finding synergies which strengthen the value perception can multiply the benefits far and wide.

The more customer value perceived from each ounce of diversification investment – the greater the profitable rewards for your business.

Less can be more with a well oiled diversification strategy.

The more audience synergies and angles you integrate into your plan, the further it will go with minimal push.

Possibilities

Scenario planning is key to having success with farm diversification.

Outlining your strategic possibilities and assessing them in theory for viability should grant greater confidence for your eventual practical solution.

Trading off one solution against another in a head-to-head comparative analysis, allows a like-for-like weighing up to order options by executive priority.

New business

As with every new business venture, it needs footfall (physical or virtual) to prosper.

For businesses where a viable audience would need to be gathered from scratch having unfamiliarity with the product or service, demand generation is required.

This is a more resource intensive type of campaign, one which relies heavily on the production of quality marketing collateral.

The marketing collateral produced should inform the business’s various audiences of the beneficial details surrounding the companies new commercial offering.

Much effort will be made in the way of making the customers firstly aware of the new offering, in order to generate interest, then to generate desire to act upon the communication & purchase.

Where a customer-base/audience already has familiarity with a product or service, the goal for generating new business is achieved by way of lead generation.

The generation of sale leads, based on an existing market demand. This is less intensive.

Impact

How will the running of this new business venture impact the use of existing resources and assets?

Will core business operations suffer at all?

Are existing profits likely to be affected by the taking on of this new venture?

Assessing the likelihood of how much the new business will impact the existing set-up will give rise to an accurate calculation of overall, or ‘net’, profitability.

Feasibility

The long term feasibility of the newly proposed business is what you’ll want to make sure of for years to come, before embarking on all the upheaval.

Outlining a roadmap of sustained earning potential over, say, 6 years, will grant confidence to all involved whilst tackling the day to day minutiae.

A well thought out plan authored with professional business advisory input, projecting long term growth and profit is a comfort of mind prior to making commitment.

Seasonality

Like with many agricultural related businesses, seasonality is a critical trend affecting consistency of trade demand.

Typically, spring/summer signifies a peak in trading conditions – usually related to harvest time, new births among livestock, or ideal conditions for outdoor activity.

During the down turn in clement weather throughout autumn and winter, seasonally influenced businesses face an abrupt cease in trade.

Farm diversification plans should factor in the smoothing out of business cashflow throughout the seasons.

Business planning

Once persuaded of the feasibility of your new business idea, authoring a comprehensive business plan is a worthwhile investment.

Detailing every aspect of how you intend to make the projected figures a reality will leave nothing to imagination or chance.

With management accounts including: gross profit, balance sheet and cashflow, the business plan is a granular level process of what you expect from the new venture.

Marketing

Bringing your new products/services to the marketplace successfully is all down to sound marketing.

View your vertical marketplace/value chain as a fruitful field which needs harvesting in order to bring in-house all the external opportunities for profit making.

This way you won’t go wrong.

In successful business, there is no such thing as competition.

Only participants within an environment where as peers you can all get along by occupying your own space confidently. The common goal shared by all is to serve one another excellently and to raise the collective bar for value distribution throughout.

400+ Farm Diversification Ideas At Your Finger Tips

farm diversification ideas

The following are top farm diversification ideas for smallholders seeking an improved business income:

View All 400+ Ideas…


Or, Browse Options By Category…



(N.B. Once you’ve selected your category below, click on the reveal/hide button above again & your ideas will be in a grey table beneath – enjoy!)

Land/Fields



Buildings





Animals & Livestock






Natural Features



Staff


Inventory


Agricultural By-Product




IT Infrastructure



Tree Produce






Garden




Machinery






Arable Land Business Ideas

Arable land produces yield if prepared, sown and kept.

The following is a curated selection of arable land uses for smallholding farmers which we prepared based on the comprehensive FAO list:

Name Latin In UK? Uses Resources
Alfalfa Medicago Sativa Yes Forage Click
Anise Pimpinella anisum Yes Culinary Click
Arrowroot Maranta arundinacea No Culinary Click
Artichoke Cynara cardunculus Yes Culinary Click
Asparagus Asparagus officinalis Yes Culinary Click
Bambara Groundnut Vigna subterranea (L. No Culinary Click
Barley Hordeum vulgare Yes Culinary Click
Beans Leguminosae Yes Culinary Click
Beetroot Beta vulgaris Yes Culinary Click
Broccoli Broccolo Yes Culinary Click
Brussels Sprouts Brassica oleracea Yes Culinary Click
Buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum Yes Culinary Click
Cabbage Brassica oleracea Yes Culinary Click
Cantaloupe Cucumis melo Yes Culinary Click
Caraway Seeds Carum carvi Yes Culinary Click
Cardamom E. cardamomum Yes Culinary Click
Carrot Daucus carota Yes Culinary Click
Cassava M. esculenta Yes Culinary Click
Cauliflower Brassica oleracea Yes Culinary Click
Celeriac Apium graveolens Yes Culinary Click
Celery Apium graveolens Yes Culinary Click
Chickpea Cicer arietinum Yes Culinary Click
Chicory Chicorium intybus Yes Culinary Click
Chilli Capsicum Yes Culinary Click
Citronella Cymbopogon Yes Culinary Click
Clover Trifolium Yes Culinary Click
Cocoyam Colocasia esculenta Yes Culinary Click
Corn Maize Yes Culinary Click
Cotton Gossypium Yes Textile Click
Cranberry Vaccinium macrocarpon Yes Culinary Click
Cress Lepidium sativum Yes Culinary Click
Cucumber Cucumis sativus Yes Culinary Click
Durum Wheat Triticum durum Yes Culinary Click
Egg Plant Solanum melongena Yes Culinary Click
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare Yes Culinary Click
Flax Linum usitatissimum Yes Culinary Click
Garlic Allium Yes Culinary Click
Ginger Zingiber officinale Yes Culinary Click
Gram Pea Cicer arietinum Yes Culinary Click
Gram Pea Cicer arietinum Yes Culinary Click
Grapes Vitis Yes Culinary Click
Horseradish Armoracia rusticana Yes Culinary Click
Indigo Persicaria tinctoria Yes Dye Click
Jerusalem Artichoke Helianthus tuberosus Yes Culinary Click
Kale Brassica oleracea Yes Culinary Click
Kohlrabi Brassica oleracea Yes Culinary Click
Leek Allium porrum Yes Culinary Click
Lentil Lens culinaris Yes Culinary Click
Lettuce Lactuca sativa Yes Culinary Click
Linseed Linum usitatissimum Yes Wood Finish Click
Mint M. spicata Yes Culinary Click
Millet Poaceae Yes Culinary Click
Mushroom Macrofungi Yes Culinary Click
Mushroom Macrofungi Yes Culinary Click
Mustard Cruciferae Yes Culinary Click
Niger Seed Guizotia abyssinica Yes Bird Seed Click
Oats Avena sativa Yes Culinary Click
Okra A. esculentus Yes Culinary Click
Onion Allium cepa Yes Culinary Click
Parsnip Pastinaca sativa Yes Culinary Click
Parsnip Pastinaca sativa Yes Culinary Click
Pea Pisum sativum Yes Culinary Click
Peanut Arachis hypogaea Yes Culinary Click
Pigeon Pea Cajanus cajan Yes Culinary Click
Potato Solanum tuberosum Yes Culinary Click
Pumpkin Cucurbita pepo Yes Culinary Click
Quinoa Chenopodium quinoa Yes Culinary Click
Radish Raphanus raphanistrum Yes Culinary Click
Ramie B. nivea Yes Culinary Click
Rhubarb Rheum rhabarbarum Yes Culinary Click
Rice Rheum rhabarbarum No Culinary Click
Swede Brassica napobrassica Yes Culinary Click
Rye Secale cereale Yes Culinary Click
Safflower C. tinctorius Yes Culinary Click
Sainfoin Onobrychis arenaria Yes Culinary Click
Salsify Tragopogon porrifolius Yes Culinary Click
Sesame Sesamum indicum No Culinary Click
Sisal Agave sisalana No Textile Click
Soybean Glycine max Yes Culinary Click
Spelt Wheat Triticum dicoccum Yes Culinary Click
Spelt Wheat Triticum dicoccum Yes Culinary Click
Spinach Spinacia oleracea Yes Culinary Click
Squash Cucurbita Yes Culinary Click
Strawberry Fragaria Yes Culinary Click
Sunflower Helianthus annuus Yes Culinary Click
Sweet Corn Zea mays Yes Culinary Click
Sweet Pepper Capsicum annuum Yes Culinary Click
Sweet Potato Ipomoea batatas Yes Culinary Click
Tomato Solanum lycopersicum Yes Culinary Click
Turnip Solanum lycopersicum Yes Culinary Click
Yam Dioscorea No Culinary Click

Open Ground Business Ideas

If you have vacant land which could be converted into a useful application for either b2b or b2c use, then garner a few income generating ideas from the table below:

Idea Class Resource
Marquee Hire Events & Ents. Click here
Wind Turbine Farm Eco Energy Click here
Solar Energy Farm Eco Energy Click here
Vehicular Shelter Storage Click here
Sports Facility Recreation Click here
Botanical Garden Installation Click here
Ice Rink Installation Click here
Golf Driving Range Installation Click here
Farmers Market Retail Click here
Pop Up Events Events Click here
Car Wash Service Click here
Outdoor Advertising Media Click here
Airstrip Helipad Transport Click here

Hospitality Business Ideas

If you have a hands on approach to your business and would like a faster pace of trade, then perhaps a hospitality business would be a good add-on for your smallholding? Tak ea look at our hospitality related business ideas below…

Name Type Resources
Bed & Breakfast Overnight Click here
Hotel Overnight Click here
Cottage Self-Catering Accommodation Click here
Static Caravan Self-Catering Accommodation Click here
Annexe Self-Catering Accommodation Click here
Apartment Self-Catering Accommodation Click here
Glamping Pod Self-Catering Accommodation Click here
Mobile Home Self-Catering Accommodation Click here
Restaurant Catering Click here
Cafe Catering Click here
Hog Roast Catering Click here

Storage Business Ideas

Empty space isn’t profitable space unless you have a bright idea of how you might turn it into business income. If you have underutilised areas of your farm premises, consider some of these ideas for a new project…

Name Type Resources
Refridgerated Food & Drink Click here
Wine Cellar Food & Drink Click here
Clearspan Nursery Agricultural Click here
Grain Storage Agricultural Click here
Aircraft Hanger Automotive Click here
Vehicular Shelter Automotive Click here
Equipment Store Logistic Click here
Distribution/Fulfillment Centre Logistic Click here
Commercial Showroom Sales & Marketing Click here

Shelter Hire Business Ideas

Farms typically have a diverse range of shelter available to use. not all of them are entirely practicable in today’s economy.

Perhaps if you have space which has fallen out of use, one of the ideas below might just help you get it back on profitable terms…

Name Type Resources
Abbatoir Hire Processing Click here
Barn Hire Overnight Shelter Click here
Chicken Coop Hire Agricultural Click here
Pigpen Hire Animal Enclosure Click here
Root Cellar Hire Produce Store Click here
Shed Hire Small Scale Store Click here
Silo Hire Grain Store Click here
Windmill Hire Mechanical Click here

Retail Business Ideas

Retail is intensive business. But for the right type of owner, it is just the release they’ve been looking for. Is this you? If so, take a look at the ideas below for a point in the right direction…

Name Type Resources
Farm Shop Over The Counter Click here
Vending Machine Automated Click here
Farm Gate Marketing Help Yourself Click here
Ecommerce Automated Click here
Mail Order Postal Click here
Pick Your Own Help Yourself Click here

Livestock Business Ideas

Tradition has it’s benefits.

Livestock with a twist in even in this market presents great rewards. Don’t overlook these options. With the right business model, livestock can still be quite a success…

Name Use Resources
Alpaca Fleece, Meat Click here
Camel Milk, Meat, Hair Click here
Cow Milk, Meat, Leather Click here
Deer Meat, Leather, Antlers Click here
Donkey Meat, Milk Click here
Elk Meat, Antler, Leather, Hide Click here
Goat Meat, Milk, Wool, Leather Click here
Pig Meat Click here
Sheep Wool, Milk, Leather, Meat Click here

Equine Business Ideas

Horses have a certain beauty about them.

Still a favourite among agricultural lovers, horses attract quite a buzz surrounding farm business – take a look at the following options for an equine extension of your farm business…

Name Resources
Horse Shows Click here
Training Classes Click here
Videography/Photography Click here
Off-Property Field Trips Click here
Meet Our Horses Days Click here
Carriage Rides Click here
Farrier Click here

Pets Business Ideas

Pets are quite precious to their owners. Finding right handler or service related to the health or well being of their pet is quite an achievement.

If you have a way with pets, perhaps the business opportunities below could work for you?

Name Type Resources
Cattery Cat Click here
Kennel Dog Click here
Pet Photography Cat, Dog & Other Click here
Pet Boarding Cat & Dog Click here

Bird Business Ideas

Birds are unique. They occupy a domain which is all unto themselves.

Whilst there is a fascination with typical livestock throughout farming generally, birds seem to be left behind a touch. If you find yourself keen on making bids your focus, the the business ideas below should resonate well with you…

Name Type Resources
Falconry Falcon Click here
Homing Pigeon Pigeon Click here
Dove Release Dove Click here

Bee Farming Business Ideas

Bees are known for their busy-ness. Their resourcefulness too.

If you find yourself attracted to getting your hands on their hive of activity, then the following ideas will probably be sweet to the taste…

Name Type Resources
Honey Food Click here
Wax Raw Material Click here
Propolis Health Click here

Lake Based Business Ideas

Open water provides great value for smallholdings and farm businesses. There is just so much you can do with it.

If your farm has teh advantage of a lake for example, then the ideas below much just be what you’ve been looking for…

Name Type Resources
Fishing Sport Click here
Tours Recreation Click here
Watersports Sport Click here

Woodlands Based Business Ideas

Woodlands are a common feature among many smallholdings, however the question often arises, “…how can I profitably harness the use of my woodlands?”

We attempt to answer that question beloow…

Name Type Resources
Nature Trail Leisure Click here
Campsite Leisure Click here
Woodfuel Product Click here
Timber Product Click here
Shed/Workshop Commercial Premises Click here
Holiday Retreat Commercial Premises Click here
Truffle Farming Agricultural Click here
Wildlife Observatory Agricultural Click here
Forest Garden Agricultural Click here
Foraging Courses Recreation Click here
Short Rotation Coppice Fuel Click here

Outsource & Training Based Business Ideas

With the resource of skilled labour on hand, you might have enough of a quota to share with your neighbouring farm owners.

If so, why not set some simple rates and advertise the availability, you might just be surprised…

Name Type Resources
Smallholding Sitting General Click here
Land Clearance Land Click here
Hay Making Production Click here
Carpentry Tradesman Click here
Harvesting Harvest Click here
Special Vehicle Driving Mechanical Click here
Machinery Operation Mechanical Click here
Hedge Trimming Field Maintenance Click here
Fencing & Gating Structural Click here
Ditch Digging & Maintenance Grounds Click here
Sowing Field Click here
Ploughing Field Click here
Landscape Gardening Grounds Click here
Livestock Handling Livestock Click here
Tree Surgery Grounds Click here
Maintenance General Click here
Aviation Mechanical Click here
Auctioneer Enterprise Click here
Architecture Enterprise Click here
Butchery Processing Click here
Abattoir Processing Click here
Hunting Processing Click here
Milling Food Processing Click here
Tanning Material Handling Click here
Ironmongery Material Handling Click here

Farm Animal Feed Based Business Ideas

Have you ever thought about supplying animal feed to your neighbouring farm – or even further beyond?

There are a number of options in this area which we thought you might find interesting – find a few of them below…

Name Resources
Grass Click here
Hay Click here
Silage Click here
Cereals Click here
Forage Crops Click here
By-Products Click here
Insects Click here
Maggots Click here

Manure Based Business Ideas

A good recycled use of farming output is manure retail.

If you have herds yourself, or have a neighbour who produces substantial amounts, you might be in with a chance to start up a profitable manure business.

See the ideas for use below…

Name Resources
Fertilizer Click here
Fuel Click here

Feather Based Business Ideas

Feathers are an underutilsed by-product of poultry farming.

Find out how the recycling of feathers means big business for many poultry traders.

Name Resources
Stuffing Click here
Art & Design Click here

Leather Based Business Ideas

Leather products, especially premium items fetch consistent prices in this economy.

If you think leather production could be your lane, then take a look at the following pointers…

Name Resources
Clothing & Accessories Click here

Digital Connectivity Based Business Ideas

Connecting the communication dots digitally is a very sought after ability.

Using your farming set-up to help others supply this need of connectivity could be a useful little earner for you…

Name Resources
Broadband Click here
Server Storage Click here

Audio Visual Based Business Ideas

Audio visual equipment is a much needed and advantageous ability in the agricultural industry, keeping connected operators and their project detail by sound and screen.

Getting your hands on an audio visual set-up might put you in stead for sharing the wealth…

Name Category Resources
Videography/Drone Marketing Click here
Microphones Security Click here

Fruit Produce Business Ideas

Fruits can be converted into many types of product from whole fruit, to juices and pulps etc.

Growing your own and preparing the fruit in a innovative manner for sale of a unique product can be a viable source of income for your farm…take a look at these ideas:

Fruit UK Resources
Apple Yes Click here
Apricot Yes Click here
Avocado Yes Click here
Banana No Click here
Breadfruit No Click here
Carob No Click here
Chayote No Click here
Cherry Yes Click here
Citron Yes Click here
Clemantine Yes Click here
Custard Apple Yes Click here
Dates No Click here
Fig Yes Click here
Grapefruit No Click here
Grape Yes Click here
Lemon Yes Click here
Lime Yes Click here
Lychee Yes Click here
Loquat No Click here
Mandarin Yes Click here
Mango No Click here
Medlar No Click here
Mulberry Yes Click here
Nectarine Yes Click here
Orange Yes Click here
Papaya No Click here
Peach Yes Click here
Pear Yes Click here
Persimon No Click here
Pineapple No Click here
Plantain No Click here
Plum Yes Click here
Pomegranate No Click here
Pomelo No Click here
Quince Yes Click here
Satsuma Yes Click here
Tangerine Yes Click here

Nut Based Business Ideas

Nuts are a premium food product. Growing nuts to use as either whole of as ingredients for a product can be a profitable niche addition to your farm.

Take a look at the types of nuts which are most readily consumed by customers worldwide:

Nut UK Resources
Almond Yes Click here
Chesnut Yes Click here
Coconut No Click here
Hazelnut Yes Click here
Macadamia Yes Click here
Nutmeg No Click here
Oil Plam No Click here
Pecan No Click here
Pistachio No Click here
Shea No Click here
Walnut Yes Click here

Tree Sap Based Business Ideas

Tree sap is a natural source of profitability which might be sitting under your nose.

Nurturing the right crop of trees can lead to a profitable source of income generation for your farm.

Product Tree Resources
Rubber Rubber Tree Click here
Syrup Maple, Walnut, Birch Click here

Tree Flower Based Business Ideas

Tree blossom has historically been harvested for its use in many ways, medicinally and otherwise.

The examples below are the most commonly used tree blossom for consumer use:

Product Tree Resources
Clove Syzygium aromaticum Click here

Timber Based Business Ideas

These are the most common timber based business ideas for smallholdings and small farm owners.

This list is based on the Sylva Foundation PDF entitled,
‘Timber Production from British Woodlands’:

Product Tree Resources
European Silver Firs Click here
Grand Firs Click here
Noble Firs Click here
Lebanon Cedar Click here
Atlantic Cedar Click here
Deodar Cedar Click here
European Larches Click here
Japanese Larches Click here
Hybrid Larches Click here
Norway Spruces Click here
Sitka Spruces Click here
Corsican Pines Click here
Lodge Pole Pines Click here
Scots Pines Click here
Douglas Fir Douglas-Fir Click here
Western Hemlock Click here
Lawson Cypress Click here
Yew Yew Click here
Coast Redwood Click here
Giant Redwood Click here
Western Red Cedar Click here
London Plane Click here
Box Box Click here
Hybrid Poplars Click here
Cricket Bat Willows Click here
Hybrid Willows Click here
Black Locust Black Locust Click here
Cherry Cherry Click here
Wild Service Sorbus Click here
Sweet Chestnut Sweet Click here
Beech Beech Click here
Pedunculate Oak Click here
Red Oak Click here
Holm Oak Click here
Common Alder Click here
Birch Birch Click here
Hornbeam Hornbeam Click here
Hazel Hazel Click here
Walnut Walnut Click here
Large/Small Lime Click here
Sycamore Maples Click here
Ash Ash Click here

Ornamental Flower Based Business Ideas

Ornamental flowers are an age old favourite for daily use or special occasions.

Why not specialise as a niche grower of a particular species which is in demand?

Flowers Resources
Buzzy Lizzies Click here
Lobelias Click here
Petunias Click here
Fuchsias Click here
Clematis Click here
Begonias Click here
Verbenas Click here
Campanula Bellflower Click here
Geraniums Click here
Roses Click here
Lilies Click here
Daisies Click here
Tulips Click here
Orchids Click here
Lilacs Click here
Carnations Click here
Hydrangeas Click here
Sunflowers Click here
Pansy Click here

Hedge Based Business Ideas

Hedges are often installed in unnatural locations such as inner cities for all sorts of events and occasions.

Hedge producers are a niche supplier, but demand is stable with event and wedding planners being a consistent source of enquiry.

Name Resources
Hedge Hire Click here

Habitat Based Business Ideas

A natural habitat is an attraction for many tourists or local inhabitants of rural locations.

Areas of natural beauty draw in the crowds in a way that man-made attractions simply cannot recreate. Micro-habitats are unique niches which can develop quite a following of repeat custom.

Find out how you might use your farm in this manner to generate more income…

Name Resources
Woodland Wildlife Click here
Water-based Wildlife Click here
Birds Click here
Bats Click here
Butterfly Click here
Glow Worm Click here

Static Machinery Based Business Ideas

Farm machinery comes at significant capital cost.

Where such cost is prohibitive, farms either miss out entirely on the opportunity, take a loan (debt), or opt to hire the equipment instead.

Why not acquire a few essential pieces of kit and offer hire services to your local rural community?Static Machinery Hire for farms.

Name Function Resources
Shear Grab Silage Click here
Grain Drying Harvest Click here
Grinder Mixer Harvest Click here
Milking Machine Dairy Click here
Conveyor Belt Processing Click here
Packaging Processing Click here
Bottling Processing Click here
Labelling Processing Click here
Drip Irrigation Watering Click here
Rotator Sprinkling Watering Click here
Power Generator Power Click here

Farm Vehicle Based Business Ideas

Specialist farm vehicles can make revolutionary changes to operational efficiency. Where it may be difficult to acquire because of either cost or driving ability in-house, many farmers may rather prefer to hire the vehicle and a driver.

Why not offer a specialist farm vehicle/driver service?

Name Function Resources
Aquatic Weed Harvester Water-Based Click here
Forklift Carrying Click here
Skid Loader Carrying Click here
Loader Carrying Click here
Backhoe Loader Carrying Click here
Mower Maintenance Click here
Tree Shaker Harvest Click here
Potato Harvester Harvest Click here
Farm Truck Transport Click here
Cotton Picker Harvest Click here
Manure Spreader Maintenance Click here
Strip Till Maintenance Click here
Tractor Transport Click here
All-Terrain Vehicular Transport Click here

Farm Vehicular Accessories Based Business Ideas

Finding the right add-on to your farm vehicle can be quite a pricey outlay. Not to mention the continual maintenance and upkeep costs.

Availability & at the right price might be more of a challenge.

Keeping a good stock of farm vehicular accessories and advertising them for local hire might be quite a profitable venture…

Name Function Resources
Mulching Maintenace Click here
Trailer Carrying Click here
Baler Hay Click here
Conditioner Maintenance Click here
Tedder Maintenance Click here
Hay Rake Hay Click here
Bale Wrapper Hay Click here
Grain Auger Harvest Click here
Seed Drill Preparation Click here
Roller Maintenance Click here
Sub Soiler Maintenance Click here
Stone Picker Maintenance Click here
Harrow Maintenance Click here

Manual Farm Equipment Based Business Ideas

Specialist handheld farming equipment can be a profitable niche occupation for the right business person.

Why not consider helping out your neighbours and start-ups who are in need of the right instrument with a local hire service?…

Name Function Resources
Post Driver Maintenace Click here
Hedge Trimmer Maintenance Click here
Scythe Harvest Click here
Rotavator Maintenance Click here

Farm Power Equipment Based Business Ideas

Electricity generators are a popular piece of kit almost anywhere.

Rural economies particularly benefit well from such technology.

Why not specialise in this type of service at affordable prices?

Name Function Resources
Generator Electricity Click here

12 Most Common Farm Diversification Issues

farm diversification issues

  • 1. What is the definition of farm diversification?

From Latin diversus “turned different ways…” – quite simply, turning the business of your farm in different ways. New products, new services as either extensions or new start-up business units entirely.

  • 2. How can you make an application for a farm diversification grant & funding?

There are various programmes, schemes and pilots which you may be eligible for.

Strict rules of conduct apply in order to qualify. One such condition of qualification is often part funding the capital investment yourself.

  • 3. Where should I begin with planning my farm diversification project?

Using a professionally developed planning framework is a valuable headstart.

Usually the offshoot strategic tool – come ‘product’ – of an experienced consultant.

Such a framework will help you pull your thoughts together in a format that will travel & translate very well.

  • 4. What are the latest statistical figures for farm diversification?

According to The Farm Business Survey conducted by DEFRA in 2016-17, almost 2/3 of all farm businesses in the UK have diversified into non-agricultural businesses.

For 41% of farm businesses, diversification income accounted for approximately 25% (1 quarter) of all income.

What was the most common diversification enterprise (…we hear you ask!)?

Letting empty building space for non-agricultural use.

This type of activity on average generated £17,900 for each farm invloved.

  • 5. What are the current trends in farm diversification among UK farm business?

The top 5 most popular diversification enterprises in the UK for farm businesses according to The Farm Business Survey are as follows:

  1. Non-farming letting,
  2. solar energy,
  3. Sport & Recreation,
  4. Processing/Retailing of Farm Produce and;
  5. Other Renewable Energy.

No surprises the most financially rewarding (yet, seasonal!) diversification enterprise for farm businesses was tourism accommodation and catering.

  • 6. How are rural business rates likely to be affected by farm diversification?

In 2017, The Valuations Office Agency (VOA) in the UK reviewed the rateable value (RV) of every commercial property.

This was the first time in 7 years that this kind of change was implemented.

The change had the affect of lowering some rates for some businesses, yet increasing rate for others. And to varying degrees.

Rises upwards of 50-100% rateable value for some rural business have been experienced by some who run more popular types of enterprises, such as pubs, storage facilities or farm shops.

Rate relief is also available for rural businesses which satisfy particular criteria, such as:

  1. Small Business Rate Relief
    • (your property’s rateable value is less than £15,000 & your business only uses one property – you may still be able to get relief if you use more),
  2. Rural Rate Relief
    • (…if your business is in a rural area with a population below 3,000 – you will not pay business rates if your business is in an eligible area and either: the only village shop or post office, with a rateable value of up to £8,500; the only public house or petrol station, with a rateable value of up to £12,500)
  3. Exempted Rate Relief
    • (...certain properties are exempt from business rates. You may not have to pay business rates on: agricultural land and buildings, including fish farms; buildings used for training or welfare of disabled people; buildings registered for public religious worship or church halls. However, there are strict legal requirements for these exemptions.)
  4. Empty Buildings Relief
    • (…you do not have to pay business rates on empty buildings for 3 months. After this time, most businesses must pay full business rates. Some properties can get extended empty property relief: industrial premises – for example warehouses – are exempt for a further 3 months; listed buildings – until they’re reoccupied; buildings with a rateable value under £2,900 – until they’re reoccupied; properties owned by charities – only if the property’s next use will be mostly for charitable purposes; community amateur sports clubs buildings – only if the next use will be mostly as a sports club)
  5. Material Change in Circumstance (MCC)
    • (…affecting the enjoyment or use of property by the business due to issues such as roadworks, for example)

  • 7. Will farm diversification plans require planning permission in order to enact?

It really depends on what your diversification plan entails.

But if it is likely to involved the change of use or amending the material integrity of your buildings or grounds, then chances are the answer is, “Yes, you need to obtain planning permission.”

Contact your planning office at the earliest point of planning in order to have a firm grip on what is expected.

  • 8. How will I know what options I have for farm diversification?

Research thoroughly.

Never assume you’ve hit the bottom of the barrel when it comes to finding out new business ideas.

Even common themes need only be slightly twisted by farmers to bring about significant innovation. In such cases they have in many ways carved out new niches for themselves.

  • 9. How valuable will hiring a farm diversification business consultant be?

We personally don’t think it’s necessary to hire a consultant for ideas alone, but for professional strategy and implementation they might be worth talking to.

However, as with www.smallholdingsforsale.co.uk, downloadable professional templates and frameworks for business planning and strategy come at a much lower cost than traditional consultancy.

It’s arguable that results via our online tools are much more satisfying than traditional argri-business consultancy, offering the following benefits:

  • flexibility of use
  • ongoing access to business resources
  • lower cost
  • customisable
  • user-friendly formatting

Our business programme comes at one easy, affordable subscription level suitable for all budgets.

  • 10. What tools are available to help with farm diversification management?

Need help managing your newly diversified farm business?

We also have an array of management tools and applications which help you keep meticulous records and help drive efficiencies – saving cost and increasing profits.

For something a little more bespoke, feel free to get in touch.

  • 11. Are there any disadvantages to farm diversification?

Opportunity cost.

You can’t do everything at the same time.

Some things are simply sacrificed for the sake of doing others.

This is opportunity cost – to invest in one opportunity, you lose on investing in others, because resources are finite.

However, it depends on how you look at it. If the investment was worth it, then you’ve made a profitable choice.

You can’t have it all.

  • 12. Where can I learn some a good lessons in farm diversification?

We’re glad you asked.

The following are real life examples of farm diversification encapsulated in case study format.

We hope you enjoy…

Farm Diversification Case Studies & Success Stories

farm diversification examples, case studies and success stories

The following case studies are examples of how rural businesses and farms across the UK have benefited from receiving grant funding to diversify.

Each business quoted below successfully applied for grants via The Leader Programme and reported a positive return (profit) on the invested grant money given.

Fullers Flowers: Build a cut-flower nursery & set-up local delivery

fullers flowers expanding diversifying their florist business

This florist achieved plans of vertically integrating by acquiring the necessary capital assets to begin growing their flowers in a cut flower nursery.

They also used their funding to upgrade their eCommerce website, employ a new member of staff specialising in PR and buy a local delivery van.

This enabled this small business in to increase profit year on year.

Marbled Meats: Acquire A Branded Catering Trailer

butcher diversifies into catering

This traditional butcher with a exotic premium Japanese product, looked to diversify into location catering with a branded catering truck.

The catering spin-off enables this farmer to grow, process and cook his meats delivering the culinary end result to end users both at the farm gate and at events.

Events catering gives the farm a wider reach than traditional raw meat butcher sales. Not to mention additional income streams at a premium ticket pricing, offering private chef services at weddings and corporate events.

This business owner has experienced a more fruitful sales process because of their diversification, now being able to demonstrate the quality of his end product first hand.

A worthwhile investment overall.

 

Do you have any diversification experiences to share with your peers?

Commment below.

Any general questions about a potential project?

Why not get some FREE professional advice?
 

 

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