Know How / Diversification

The income generated by diversification is a vital component of many farming businesses – but it can involve unfamiliar planning, legal, staffing, plus health and safety issues.

This page offers tips and advice to guide you through your diversification journey. You’ll find information to help you to set up and run a thriving new enterprise on your farm.

Key areas of focus:

  • Inspirational farm diversification case-studies
  • Opportunities for grant support
  • Avoiding legal and tax pitfalls
  • Successful staff management
  • Business planning and marketing strategies

Case studies

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Regen farmer seeks businesses to form sustainable community

Regenerative farmer Tim May is launching an ambitious project to bring more businesses onto Kingsclere Estate to build a community where each enterprise helps regenerate the land, reduces waste and…


Unusual farm diversifications help fill payments gap

Farmers are increasingly looking for novel ways to diversify to start filling the financial gap left by the loss of direct payments. We talk to some who are carving particularly…


FW Awards: 2021 Diversification of the Year finalists

Innovation and bold decision-making, coupled with enthusiasm and unrivalled knowledge of their businesses, are the hallmarks of this year’s Diversification finalists. See also: Farmers Weekly Awards: Diversification finalists 2020 The…


How diversified businesses found new markets through Covid

Rebecca Mayhew of Old Hall Farm, Woodton, Norfolk, has seen a thriving online business develop out of the coronavirus crisis. Along with her husband Stuart, she runs a café, butchery…


Vineyard makes innovative adaptions to cope with covid

Despite not holding a wedding in 2021 until 1 May, Alice Maltby, Tom Wilson and the growing team at Little Wold Vineyard have been pressing on with numerous building projects…


How mixed farm award winners diversified into apple market

Ballingham Court Farm in Herefordshire is the home of 20,000 apple trees, where Henry and Esther Rudge have supplied fresh, juicy fruit to British drinks brand Copella for nearly 15…

Practical advice

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Stricter rules of firewood sales - what you need to know

Firewood sales are to be regulated to outlaw the burning of wet wood and help the UK government meet its air pollution ambitions. By May 2022, all sales of firewood…


VAT rules to know when offering land and buildings storage

VAT rules can be complex when it comes to the fairly simple enterprise of providing storage by letting out land or agricultural buildings. According to the Self Storage Association, there…


Tree-planting targets offer opportunity for UK-grown stock

The UK’s tree planting goals to meet climate targets are ambitious and for plant health, environmental and economic reasons, domestic planting schemes favour UK-grown stock. Historically, much stock has been…


How electric vehicle charging sites can benefit farmers

The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, published late last year, sets out the government’s approach to accelerating the UK’s path to net-zero emissions. This includes a commitment…


Tax and money management tips for diversified farm businesses

Many new diversification ventures have been set up in the past 18 months, often relating to threats or opportunities brought about by the pandemic. Farmers Weekly asked advisers for their…


Diversified farm businesses alerted over VAT changes

Farm businesses providing accommodation and catering need to take account of forthcoming changes to VAT rates. Changes apply from 1 October on the reduced VAT rate brought in to help…


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Video: How farm shops are filling the supermarket supply gap

Farm shops have always played a crucial role within rural communities, offering fresher, better-quality produce to support local farmers while reducing food miles. Since the first Covid-19 lockdown in March…


12 steps to improve marketing of a staycation venture

Whether it is glamping, camping, holiday lets, B&Bs or pop-up campsites, a diversification into the leisure sector needs visitors. Here, Savills tourism and leisure director Simon Foster, FarmStay chairwoman Kay…


Farmshops continue to #FeedTheNation as lockdown eases

Farm shops are predicting a positive future, with early indications suggesting new customers who turned to them in lockdown are remaining loyal. Turnover is up on pre-Covid-19 levels at Newlyns…


Land with forestry potential sees unprecedented prices

Hill farms and bare land with the potential for planting trees have achieved unprecedented prices due to competitive bidding from commercial forestry investors. This rise in demand was the biggest…


Exclusive survey: 97% farms find diversification profitable

Ingenuity, drive, skill and hard work are all clear to see in the results of Farmers Weekly’s diversification survey, carried out in association with Carter Jonas.  A vast range of…


5 minutes with... Diversification award winners the Moretons

It's been a whirlwind few months for the Farmers Weekly Award winners – 15 extraordinary farmers, advisers, contractors and farmworkers who last year received one of farming's highest accolades recognising…


Why planting trees can improve farm performance

Trees and hedgerows might shape the appearance of the Great British countryside, but their role goes way beyond simply looking pretty. From improving animal welfare to mitigating the effects of…