- 0.1 Within this guide we hope to offer much food for strategic thought on the matter of diversifying your farm-related business
- 0.2 Breaking Down The Essentials Of Farm Diversification
- 0.3 An Outline Of A Farm Diversification Business Plan
- 0.4 400+ Farm Diversification Ideas At Your Finger Tips
- 0.5 Land/Fields
- 0.6 Buildings
- 0.7 Animals & Livestock
- 0.8 Natural Features
- 0.9 Staff
- 0.10 Inventory
- 0.11 Agricultural By-Product
- 0.12 IT Infrastructure
- 0.13 Tree Produce
- 0.14 Garden
- 0.15 Machinery
- 1 Arable Land Business Ideas
- 2 Open Ground Business Ideas
- 3 Hospitality Business Ideas
- 4 Storage Business Ideas
- 5 Shelter Hire Business Ideas
- 6 Retail Business Ideas
- 7 Livestock Business Ideas
- 8 Equine Business Ideas
- 9 Pets Business Ideas
- 10 Bird Business Ideas
- 11 Bee Farming Business Ideas
- 12 Lake Based Business Ideas
- 13 Woodlands Based Business Ideas
- 14 Outsource & Training Based Business Ideas
- 15 Farm Animal Feed Based Business Ideas
- 16 Manure Based Business Ideas
- 17 Feather Based Business Ideas
- 18 Leather Based Business Ideas
- 19 Digital Connectivity Based Business Ideas
- 20 Audio Visual Based Business Ideas
- 21 Fruit Produce Business Ideas
- 22 Nut Based Business Ideas
- 23 Tree Sap Based Business Ideas
- 24 Tree Flower Based Business Ideas
- 25 Timber Based Business Ideas
- 26 Ornamental Flower Based Business Ideas
- 27 Hedge Based Business Ideas
- 28 Habitat Based Business Ideas
- 29 Static Machinery Based Business Ideas
- 30 Farm Vehicle Based Business Ideas
- 31 Farm Vehicular Accessories Based Business Ideas
- 32 Manual Farm Equipment Based Business Ideas
- 33 Farm Power Equipment Based Business Ideas
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?”
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
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:
- Natural Features
- Specialist Installations i.e. something different installed on-site
- Agricultural by-product
- IT Infrastructure
- Tree Produce
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Animals & Livestock
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:
|Bambara Groundnut||Vigna subterranea (L.||No||Culinary||Click|
|Brussels Sprouts||Brassica oleracea||Yes||Culinary||Click|
|Caraway Seeds||Carum carvi||Yes||Culinary||Click|
|Durum Wheat||Triticum durum||Yes||Culinary||Click|
|Egg Plant||Solanum melongena||Yes||Culinary||Click|
|Gram Pea||Cicer arietinum||Yes||Culinary||Click|
|Gram Pea||Cicer arietinum||Yes||Culinary||Click|
|Jerusalem Artichoke||Helianthus tuberosus||Yes||Culinary||Click|
|Linseed||Linum usitatissimum||Yes||Wood Finish||Click|
|Niger Seed||Guizotia abyssinica||Yes||Bird Seed||Click|
|Pigeon Pea||Cajanus cajan||Yes||Culinary||Click|
|Spelt Wheat||Triticum dicoccum||Yes||Culinary||Click|
|Spelt Wheat||Triticum dicoccum||Yes||Culinary||Click|
|Sweet Corn||Zea mays||Yes||Culinary||Click|
|Sweet Pepper||Capsicum annuum||Yes||Culinary||Click|
|Sweet Potato||Ipomoea batatas||Yes||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:
|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…
|Bed & Breakfast||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|
|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…
|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…
|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…
|Farm Shop||Over The Counter||Click here|
|Vending Machine||Automated||Click here|
|Farm Gate Marketing||Help Yourself||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…
|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|
|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…
|Horse Shows||Click here|
|Training Classes||Click here|
|Off-Property Field Trips||Click here|
|Meet Our Horses Days||Click here|
|Carriage Rides||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?
|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…
|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…
|Wax||Raw Material||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…
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…
|Nature Trail||Leisure||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…
|Smallholding Sitting||General||Click here|
|Land Clearance||Land||Click here|
|Hay Making||Production||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|
|Landscape Gardening||Grounds||Click here|
|Livestock Handling||Livestock||Click here|
|Tree Surgery||Grounds||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…
|Forage Crops||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…
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…
|Clothing & Accessories||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…
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:
|Custard Apple||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:
|Oil Plam||No||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.
|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:
|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’:
|European Silver||Firs||Click here|
|Lodge Pole||Pines||Click here|
|Douglas Fir||Douglas-Fir||Click here|
|Western||Red Cedar||Click here|
|Cricket Bat||Willows||Click here|
|Black Locust||Black Locust||Click here|
|Wild Service||Sorbus||Click here|
|Sweet Chestnut||Sweet||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?
|Buzzy Lizzies||Click here|
|Campanula Bellflower||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.
|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…
|Woodland Wildlife||Click here|
|Water-based Wildlife||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.
|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|
|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?
|Aquatic Weed Harvester||Water-Based||Click here|
|Skid Loader||Carrying||Click here|
|Backhoe Loader||Carrying||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|
|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…
|Hay Rake||Hay||Click here|
|Bale Wrapper||Hay||Click here|
|Grain Auger||Harvest||Click here|
|Seed Drill||Preparation||Click here|
|Sub Soiler||Maintenance||Click here|
|Stone Picker||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?…
|Post Driver||Maintenace||Click here|
|Hedge Trimmer||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?
12 Most Common 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:
- Non-farming letting,
- solar energy,
- Sport & Recreation,
- Processing/Retailing of Farm Produce and;
- 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:
- 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),
- 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)
- 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.)
- 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)
- 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?
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 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
- 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?
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
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
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
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?
Any general questions about a potential project?
Why not get some FREE professional advice?