Many landowners use farm diversification as an effort to boost revenue through several different avenues to ensure that agricultural land is being used sustainably throughout all seasons. The popularity of this business venture has grown over the past 40 years, since farm incomes came under pressure for the first time following the post-war period of the 20th century. According to the DERFA report, 68% of farms have chosen to diversify, a decision which may have factored in the effects of the pandemic.
In 2021, Amazon Prime broadcast the first series of Clarkson’s Farm. The programme showcases the trials and tribulations of Jeremy Clarkson, one of the most unlikely men to break into the agricultural industry and the ways in which he uses his farmland. His most famous diversification venture of the series is the Diddly Squat farm shop, which attracts visitors from all over the UK and has gained a lot of traction on social media.
NFU Mutual reports that the top farm diversification schemes include farm shops, renting space for storage, B’n’Bs, glamping/camping and experimenting with new off shoots such as livestock and crops.
For those considering camping and glamping, local authorities should be contacted to check if any planning licenses are required. The definition of a caravan in law is defined by the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960, Section 29 as follows: ‘’Caravan’’ means any structure designed or adapted for human habitation which is capable of being moved from one place to another.
If you were looking to site static caravans on agricultural land, planning permission would be required. To support individuals looking to expand, there is the ‘Rural Fund’, which is a capital grant scheme that can be administered by local authorities to support new and existing rural businesses develop new products and facilities of wider benefit to the local economy, which farm diversification falls under.
In conclusion, farm diversification can be a bountiful new business venture for owners of agricultural land and open many new doors. However, this re-allocation of land must be done in accordance with planning and licensing laws, and support is available for those thinking of pursuing this enterprise.