So you’ve got the land, you’ve got a great idea and you’re ready to get rolling with achieving your diversification dream – but how do you convince your family it’s a good idea? Farm Diversity editor Victoria Galligan suggests how to get everyone on board – and keep them on side.
The very nature of farming means that many farms are family-owned. But it’s not just land and property that gets passed down from generation to generation – attitudes, practices and staunch views can also be a family trait.
If the “head” of your family has been doing things the same way for years, has friends in the area they don’t want to upset and really can’t imagine the farm making money in any other way than it always has done, then you’ve got a fight on your hands.
Deciding what to do with the farm in future years is one of the biggest challenges in the UK’s farming community: should it be held by the family and the farming continue, should it be sold, could a suitable tenant be found and the farm handed over to them, or are there other options?
Whilst farmers cannot always expect the next generation to take on the family business, many are keen to keep the farm within the family. With this in mind, planning who will run the farm in the future is becoming an increasingly pressing issue. However, alternatives to selling the farm can offer exciting prospects.
UK farming desperately needs new entrants in order to maintain competitiveness, energy and innovation – without losing the wisdom of the established farmers. Many farm and estate businesses who bring in fresh pairs of hands have benefited from the new approaches and different perspectives that passionate new entrants can bring.
With SAVOURSMITHS we have created a potato crisp brand with luxurious gourmet crisps made with potatoes harvested from their own British farm in Cambridgeshire using only the finest ingredients. Our creative crisps are fuelled by the local fields and they are involved in the process from start to finish. Everything we do is made from scratch and we influence what is sown, when it is harvested and how our crisps get prepared. We hope that our attention to detail along the journey both informs and is reflected in our decadent potato crisps.
We started SAVOURSMITHS in September 2016, soon after we moved back to the family farm in an effort to diversify and take our family business in a modern direction. Food, family, friends and fun is important to us as individuals.
When it comes to diversifying it’s best to move into a fresh, new market rather than one at saturation point. It also helps to tap into an existing skillset, even if these skills may have lain dormant for some time.
This is exactly what Gilli and Glen Allingham of Nairn did when theydiversified from potato and cereal farming into growing garlic. They then diversified further by creating a range of garlicky food products that can be ordered online.
Craggie Farm is the only garlic farm in Scotland, and the home of the Really Garlicky Company. Glen took over the family farm in 1999, which has been growing potatoes for fifty years. The Allingham family started selling King Edward seed potatoes directly to ware growers in the South East of England.