So… you want to diversify your farm business?

By George Peart

The ability to expand a business during a time when many are tightening their budgets is a sign of true leadership.

With a mix of rising farm input costs, supply chain uncertainty and the pandemic-driven change in consumer behaviour, there has never been a better opportunity than today to change things up on your farm.

It is generally assumed that diversification means a new farm shop is on the horizon, however, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Think anything from farmer’s markets and agritourism to bitcoin mining and pet burial sites; you just have to play to your farm’s strengths and add in a hint of imagination.

Do your research and be organised

Taking the leap into a new venture can be a daunting step, especially in the early stages. It pays to do your research and be organised. The solution is not diversification for diversification’s sake.  

Try to break up the process into small manageable pieces and set goals for each stage! Most importantly, include everyone on the farm in discussions and expect to plan out multiple ideas before finding the “perfect fit”.

Start by imagining you are on Dragon’s Den and being asked the following questions:

  1. What does your customer want or need that your farm can offer?
  2. How does your diversification fit around the core farm business?

How would you respond? Could you offer succinct and clear answers?

Secondly, consider your current business performance and how this will change after the end of BPS. Diversifying offers the chance to not just replace the loss of BPS, but to build your profits beyond this figure too. Analysing your finances and looking at borrowing options is a key step when searching for opportunities, but it is also important to consider other areas such as labour, time and logistics.

Finally, think about looking into a budget forecast for the diversified area and tie it into your overall farm budget. Does it enhance your business? Does it make your life easier? Will it provide long-term income?

How we can help

Promar offers bespoke support for your business venture. Our knowledge lies in technical and financial farm consultancy, twinned with agri-food and supply chain knowledge. We will provide you with the tools to deliver a new business idea that is both profitable and environmentally sustainable. We can help with business planning, grant funding, technical advice, market research and farm management.

If you are at the early stages of planning your diversification, please get in touch to book one of our “Diversification Diagnostics”. This could include a financial risk assessment, project plan, grant advice or partial budget plan. It will be tailored to your business and promotes open discussion about where you want to take your farm business.

The Promar International Diversification Survey

We would be grateful if you can spare 5 minutes to complete our Farm Diversification Survey. These results will be used to add to our existing support for the agriculture industry.

For your time, we will enter you into a prize draw to win a Promar gilet and beanie hat.