With headlines still dominated by Brexit and opinions about the future of farming as divided as ever, it would be no wonder if rural landowners have been left feeling unnerved.
However, amidst this uncertainty there are signs that land and estate owners are being galvanised to take action and, despite an uncertain outlook, there is optimism about the outlook for rural businesses.
A recent survey undertaken by Rural Solutions found that whilst there is concern about the long-term prospects of their businesses, 25% of landowners feel more optimistic about their business prospects now than at the start of 2019, with 67% intending to invest in their rural businesses in the next 12 months.
Matt McWhirter, of Farmers and Mercantile Insurance Brokers (FMIB), explores the opportunities and risks associated with diversification and explains why farmers should think before they diversify
Market volatility, slashed subsidies, and economic uncertainty have all played a hand in farmers looking further afield to seek out new revenue streams.
With plentiful resources at their disposal, farmers are increasingly turning to diversification and successfully launching enterprises up and down the country.
From rural tourism to renewable energy schemes, more than two thirds (66 per cent) of farm businesses in England have diversified, according to the latest Farm Business Survey.
Diversification is prominent within the agricultural community across the country. With relentless pressure on yields coupled with uncertainty over the future of rural subsidies, many farmers and landowners are new looking at how to expand their business and generate new revenues.
This is where residential and commercial development plays a role. Many farmers and landowners look to develop strategic, large-scale parcels of land with a regional developer or, for smaller scale projects of five to ten homes, or indeed for a conversion project, with a local house builder.
With an ever-growing demand for homes, or commercial premises in rural settings, the agricultural community is well-placed to harness land – arguably the most valuable asset – to create generation-changing opportunities.
Rural theft is threatening the livelihoods of farmers up and down the country. Kelly Friel, Digital Product Manager at tools, DIY and security accessory supplier Zoro, offers her advice for improving security and reducing your chances of falling victim to thieves.
If you work on or own a farm, you’ll already know just how serious the ongoing problem of rural theft is becoming. Expensive agricultural equipment is an appealing prospect for thieves, and the fact that farms are almost always in remote locations far from the emergency services makes criminals more brazen in their attempts to break in.