Deal or no deal, farm diversification now a necessity

LinkedIn +

UK farmers face a profound crisis in the event of a no-deal Brexit and there is uncertainty ahead even if a deal is agreed, according to the president of the National Farmers’ Union.

Minette Batters has expressed a need for ‘free and frictionless’ trading relationships with 500 million people in the EU, on BBC Farming Today, underlining that preparing for a potential no-deal Brexit is the biggest challenge we face.

Farmers and landowners are being encouraged to become more self-sufficient as the sector moves towards a new UK agricultural policy, according to Jonathan Scurlock, a senior policy adviser at the NFU, where they will be paid for public goods and environmental services, as direct farm payments are progressively removed.

“It’s important that farmers and landowners begin to look at developing alternative income streams. Looking at our own NFU farmer confidence survey, over the past couple of years, over a third of farmers have diversified into renewable energy projects, benefitting from cost savings and generating additional income,” says Jonathan.

“Many farmers will have to diversify now as a necessity,” he adds.

Jonathan Scurlock will be delivering a presentation at Energy and Rural Business Show entitled ‘The importance of diversification in the agricultural sector’. The event takes place on February 6 and 7 and incorporates Energy Now Expo, Rural Business Expo and Low Emission Vehicles Expo.

Also speaking in the ‘How-to’ workshop at the event is Andrew Shirley from the CLA who believes that impartial professional advice is crucial when diversification planning. “In this period of uncertainty, diversification is becoming ever more important for landowners, farmers and rural business owners. It is essential to be able to plan a way forward. That’s why my workshop will focus on effective business planning.”

The event is the leading information source for farmers and landowners wanting advice and guidance on the future of sustainable agriculture, with dedicated ‘How-to’ farm and land diversification workshops, a multi-streamed renewable energy conference, as well as exhibitions dedicated to each area of the show.

The show is free to attend, and tickets can be reserved online:

Diversification topics and speakers in Energy and Rural Business Show’s ‘How-to’ workshops:

  • ‘How to set up & maintain a glamping site’, Kate Morel from Morel & Co
  • ‘Achieving public benefits & environmental outcomes on your land’, Kate Hiseman Sustainable Land Trust
  • ‘The Benefits & challenges of diversifying,’ Philip Hughes, from Rhug Estate
  • ‘How to make the most of your existing buildings,’ Marie Stacey, Pegasus Planning
  • ‘How to setup a wedding venue,’ Kelly Chandler from Kelly Chandler Consulting
  • ‘How to establish an equine venture,’ Amanda Watson, The Equestrian Index
  • ‘A look at the grants available to assist with your new venture,’ Brown & Co
  • ‘The do’s and don’ts of entering the holiday accommodation market,’ Farm Stay UK
  • ‘Becoming a flower farmer & understanding the market opportunities,’ Justine Scouller, Flowers From the Farm
  • ‘Understanding the tax ramifications of your chosen venture, including inheritance tax,’ Sally Appleton from Saffery Champness
  • ‘How to benefit from alpaca farming,’ Rob Bettinson, Toft Alpacas
  • ‘How can your business benefit from social media?’ Peter Gill, Social Farmers
  • Glamping in the National Parks – A compare and contrast of the opportunities for glamping in Snowdonia and the Peak District,’ Edmund Bailey, Baileys & Partners
  • ‘How to submit a successful planning application,’ Emma Winter Carter Jonas
  • ‘A practical guide to entering the holiday letting market,’ Stuart Walkden from Wyndham
  • ‘Setting up a fish farm – what do you need to know?’ Esther Stirling, Harrison Clark Rickerbys
  • ‘Producing Cider – is this an option for you?’ Albert Johnson, Ross on Wye Cider & Perry Co
  • ‘How to setup a camping site,’ Damien Field, from The Camping and Caravanning Club
  • ‘Financing your new venture,’ Giles Cross, Folk 2 Folk
  • ‘How to promote your new venture,’ Rhea Freeman, Rhea Freeman PR
  • ‘Be part of the holiday franchise,’ Charles Gulland, MD, Wigwam Holidays
  • ‘How to farm organically,’ Sophie Kirk, from The Soil Association
  • ‘Organising a robust plan for your new business’ CLA chief surveyor
  • ‘How to diversify into forestry,’ Simon Marringdon, Tilhill Forestry



Share this story:

About Author