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One fifth of farmers looking to diversify post-Brexit, new report finds

NFU Mutual’s Diversification Report found almost half of those surveyed said a diversification project would also make them feel less isolated.


Lauren   Dean

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Lauren   Dean
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One fifth of farmers looking to diversify post-Brexit, new report finds

One in five UK farmers have plans to diversify post-Brexit in a bid to better support their farm finances.

 

Their plans were revealed in NFU Mutual’s Diversification Report which found almost half (46 per cent) of those surveyed said a diversification project would also make them feel less isolated.

 

The research said top choices for farmers wanting to diversify were caravan and camping sites (27 per cent), other holiday accommodation (20 per cent), and renewable energy (20 per cent).

 

It came as 94 per cent of existing farm diversification schemes admitted to being successful, with almost two thirds of diversified farms suggesting the income produced was ‘vital’ or ‘significant’ to their business.

 

Of those which had already diversified, 62 per cent said it was to earn extra income and 89 per cent said it was a positive step to their farm’s future.


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Fifty-nine per cent also said the move had a positive impact on the local community.

 

Chris Walsh, NFU Mutual farm insurance manager said: “The basic choices farmers have available to them as direct subsidies cease are to maintain their current business models, specialise, intensify or diversify.

 

Challenges

“Every farm is different and making the right choice depends on many factors including the farm’s location, land type, family structure, financial and skills set.”

 

Diversification for many however did not come without its challenges, with lack of time (22 per cent), red tape (18 per cent), unreliable broadband (15 per cent) and cash flow (15 per cent) all mentioned as significant obstacles.

But 80 per cent of those planning to diversify said they expected their schemes to create between one and two permanent jobs.

 

Director of Chamberlayne Farms Jeremy Rudge, who has converted outdated buildings into additional income, encouraged farmers to think about the sustainability of diversification economically, ‘because it is not that easy to find returns’.

 

He said: “Seek out good advice and personalities you can get along with. As long as you do your homework, you should not be afraid of change.

 

“Farming is going to change anyway, so you should not have, as they say, all your eggs in one basket.”

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