5 ideas for farm diversification

Gentleman carrying out health checks for cows living on farms

Over the last few years, British farmers have shown that there are numerous inventive ways to diversify the farm. From glamping sites and upmarket farm shops, to mini-festivals and wind farms. In a period of fluctuating income for farmers, many have shown a steely resilience in seeking out new financial opportunities and transforming traditional farm life. 

In a 2021 study, 37% of farmers reported that they already had, or were planning to, start using their land for non-farm related activities. It’s easy to see why farmers are branching out, with annual revenues from non-farming income reaching £680million

If you’re a farmer wanting to diversify your land, and are stuck on where to start, there are plenty of guides and diversification case studies, such as these on Farmers Guide. There’s also a lot of government assistance in farm diversification grants. Here are some great ideas for farm diversification. 

Turn an unused field into a campsite

In the current economic climate, the demand for British camping holidays is higher than ever. The staycation has become one of the most in demand holiday types, with families wanting to get back to nature, switch off from electricals, and spend quality time with each other. 

There’s plenty of options when it comes to camping, so whether you offer wild camping, back to basics, family orientated or a full-on glamping experience is completely up to you. It’s best to assess the location of your farm and the type of land that you have to see what works best. 

So how do you make a campsite on your farm? The good news is that help is always on hand. Pitchup.com is not only Europe's biggest outdoor accommodation provider, but they are miles ahead in the agritourism business. They offer help and advice on how you can turn your field into a temporary campsite that generates thousands of pounds of additional income. 

The camping and caravanning club also offers help in setting up a certified campsite. They will help you navigate planning permissions and licences and which insurance you’ll need to take, such as Public Liability Insurance. Once your campsite is up and running, it's a great way to make extra income from your land. 

Put your unused buildings to use with self-storage 

If you’ve got a few old buildings on your land that are going unused, then you can put them to use with this low-cost, low-input farm diversification scheme. 

Initially, this method can be complicated as you will need to change the permission of the land or barn from agricultural to self-storage, but there are plenty of companies that can help with this. You’ll also need to provide additional insurance, as there is a higher risk of theft.

There are lots of individuals and companies that utilise barn storage as it’s convenient and safe. A popular way to offer safe storage solutions is to use shipping containers, as they’re weather-tight, can be easily secured, and there’s also a steady supply of them.

Turning unused farmland into storage solutions has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. It’s a really low-impact way to maximise income. If you want a minimal effort way to make additional income from your land, this could be the diversification idea for you. 

Weddings on the farm

Weddings are a thing that are always in demand, and that trend is unlikely to change anytime soon. 

A trend that has changed, however, is the wedding destination. As younger millennials are taking the lead in weddings, the traditions are changing. Barn weddings, rustic weddings and outdoor weddings are all becoming incredibly popular, and so the demand for an alternative wedding venue has skyrocketed. 

Diversifying your farm to include weddings is a big commitment and sufficient research should be completed. The average spend on a wedding venue is around £5000, so this could be a great way to attract additional income to the farm. If you add yurts and tipis to the land, or transform old barns into accommodation, this can make extra money on accommodation too. 

If you think that your farm is the perfect rustic barn wedding venue, then this could be a great diversification idea for you. 

Sell your freshly grown produce in a farm shop

Thanks to the likes of Jeremy Clarkson and the Diddly Squat Farm Shop, the demand for fresh farm produce has increased exponentially. 

With a focus on ethical meat and dairy production, and customers seeking out organic fruit and vegetables, there’s a renewed demand for direct-to-consumer farm produce. So, adding a farm shop is a fantastic idea if you’ve got the space and time. 

A 2022 survey reported that farm shops have collectively generated a sales income of £1.4billion pounds, with 64% of farmers estimating a further increase in sales this year. This is mainly due to the quality of goods on offer, and the consumers desire to shop local and support UK farming. 

You can use an existing building or create a brand-new space depending on your land, and you can either man the shop yourself, or employ people from the local community. You can even specialise in something, like homemade pasties, or farm-brewed beer. Dairy farm diversification is particularly interesting as you can provide fresh milk straight to customers. 

So now you've looked into a few different types of farm diversification, you should have a better idea of what will suit you and your land. If you’re going to diversify your agricultural land, you will need a good agricultural insurance that specialises in diversification trades. At Meadons we specialise in farm insurance and our helpful team is always on hand for help and advice. So please give us a call today to discuss your diversification ideas, and see how we can help. 

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