Have you decided that farm diversification is the next step for your business, or maybe you are weighing up your options? Here you will find some great information to help you and your diversification journey.
Editor Victoria Galligan visits a family business with a long track-record of farm diversification – the Owd Barn in Bispham, West Lancashire.
The Owd Barn has nearly 30 years of diversification behind it – but that doesn’t mean the Ashcroft family are resting on their laurels. Far from it in fact. As I sit down with the owners’ daughter, Helen Charlesworth, she explains that renovations are planned to further make use of the space in the barn which has become a popular visitor destination over the past three decades.
Catgill farm has been our family home for the past 60 years, originally run as a dairy farm by Grandad Ken. In 2013 Ken’s grandson Oliver returned to Catgill to the cottage where he was born and had the idea of opening a campsite. It was not easy to sell his idea to his Grandad but he agreed and the campsite opened in 2014.
“We hoped people would love it here as much as we do” said Oliver, it turns out they do and the campsite has grown enormously in popularity over the past 5 years. It’s an amazing place for families there is so much to do; Bolton Abbey is only 1Km away and Hesketh Farm Park is literally over the road.
The site is also close to the Dalesway footpath and there are numerous cycle routes including the famous Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire routes. Each year we have added new features to the site, we started with a high quality amenity block and a field. Ken would welcome guests into his living room to check in.
Former Christmas tree grower Martin Taylor explains to editor Victoria Galligan how his family farm diversified into providing accessible fishing and created an educational facility onsite for local youngsters...
Situated few miles outside Wigan, Fir Tree Fishery (soon to be renamed as Fir Tree CIC) has long been a haven for local anglers. The landscape was covered in the farm’s namesake trees and every few years, November and December were times for harvesting while thefishery ticked along nicely supporting thefarm business.
Managing Director Martin says: “In 2010, we had just harvested a crop of trees, which grew on the land surrounding our original fishing lakes, and we thought: ‘Do we want to wait another eight or nine years for another crop, or do we want to diversify?’
“We had run the commercial fishinglakes for a while and noticed that we weren’t attracting any anglers with disabilities. So I began what became somewhat of a crusade!”
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.
Cornwall … organic livestock … glamping … this sounds like a magical list of ingredients making up a tasty cocktail for a successful diversification project.
And for Wigwam® Holidays Penbugle, these formed the basic three factors for their farm’s diversification over the last eight years.
Wigwam® Holidays Penbugle Organic Farm, which is close to the market town of Liskeard and the fishing communities of Looe and Polperro in South East Cornwall, have taken the glamping plunge on their organic farm, part of the Duchy of Cornwall Duloe Estate.
The glorious Cornish countryside, which has been captured in BBC TV’s Poldark adaptations, is just one factor that encouraged John and Lizzie Ridout to diversify their farm to include bell tents, a campsite and spacious Big Chief Wigwam® Cabins, becoming part of the growing Wigwam® Holidays Franchise.
With the lofty Moffat Hills as a backdrop, John and Laura Hume knew they had to share their glorious location with visitors to the area … and not just with the Golden Eagles and Ospreys that fly above this beautiful location!
The site opened in April 2017 and includes six Running Water Deluxe Wigwam® Cabins made just up the road in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.
The construction of their cabins also coincided with the felling and distribution of their own timber at their location, which is just moments from the Grey Mare’s Tail Nature Reserve.
Close to the South Upland Way and in the middle of the spectacular scenery, this working farm diversified into glamping and also painstakingly transformed the natural landscape into a haven for wildlife.
Now in its eleventh year of business, Humble Bee Farm is a working arable and stock farm in the Yorkshire Wolds.
Nothing unusual here, perhaps, except the farm decided to diversify just over a decade ago and now successfully combines the agricultural side of the business with award-winning glamping.
Co-owned by Julia and John Warters, Wigwam® Holiday Humble Bee Farm started small: a petite campsite, two original Big Chief Wigwam® Cabins and a portable toilet.
Today, with a clutch of awards under their belts, the couple have continued their diversification to include twenty Wigwam® Cabins (including four en-suite Running Water Deluxe models, each with its own private outdoor hot tub), four Nomadic Yurts, three luxury holiday cottages, a small campsite, two shower and toilet blocks, an onsite reception/shop, children’s play area, a football field and an interactive Nature Trail.
Farm diversification isn’t a new trend; resilience and adaptability have always been essential for farming businesses to survive and thrive. Over 60% of UK farms have diversified, according to Defra’s Farm Business Survey 2016/17.
NFU Mutual spoke to over 200 farmers from across the UK who have already taken the leap and already diversified from farming, or are considering their future business direction, to find out how and why.