Get the right advice to diversify

FARMERS ARE being urged to seek the right advice on diversifying their business by exhibitors on the Farm Options stands at the Royal Smithfield Show.

“The till doesn‘t start running straight away, so farms need to find out what to do with their businesses now,” said David Meredith at the British Institute of Agricultural Consultants.

“Don‘t go to accountants, bankers or solicitors.”

Farmers need to develop a plan for diversifying their business that played to their strengths, he added.

Mike Churcher, an agricultural business manager with Lloyds TSB bank, said that there was a steady stream of farmers getting in touch with new projects.

But with an estimated two-thirds of farmers looking to diversify in the coming years, the pressure to get it right was on.

“Farmers don‘t realise how multi skilled they are,” he added, urging them to use their many abilities.

Exhibitors in the Farm Options section of the show were offering ideas from developing and promoting tourism to setting up new farming units, such as hens or innovative crops.

Mark Sheppard at The Lodge Supply, specialising in providing high quality lodge accommodation for tourists, said: “Farmers are beginning to come off the fence. There is only so long you can keep a converted barn empty.”

Another way of increasing turnover, suggested by technology firm 101 media, is to set up and maintain a website and email list of customers.