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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How a Norfolk dairy diversified into tourism and hospitality

Converting a set of Georgian barns into holiday lets 20 years ago involved market research by post for dairy farmers Joanna and David Burroughs. Today, their daughter, Lindsay Miller, is…


Why an Irish beef producer diversified into snails

Snails may not be a regular choice in British and Irish diets, but in mainland Europe they remain popular as an everyday staple and delicacy. Yet, in Ireland, snail farming…


Scotland trip inspires Canadian grower's distillery

A trip to a Scottish distillery completely changed Canadian grain producer Lars Hirch’s life when he realised all he needed to produce whisky was barley, yeast and water. At a…


How Canadian grower became Alberta’s first craft malthouse

Hamill Farms in Canada diversified their traditional grain farm into Alberta’s first craft malthouse in a bid to add value to barley crops and ignite the family’s succession plan. It…


Wildflower seed diversification gives arable tenants security

Diversifying a traditional arable rotation with a wildflower seed business has helped secure a viable future for one tenant farming family, who faced losing their farm to building developments. In…


FW Awards 2023: Diversification Farmer of the Year finalists

This year’s diversification finalists all share a strong entrepreneurial mindset which has allowed them to find ways to add value to their overall farming businesses through new opportunities and innovation. …

Practical advice

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Rural tourism: How to expand and attract customers

Diversification usually allows farmers more control over the prices they charge for goods and services than they have over farmgate values for produce. Farm income from diversification is steadily rising,…


Wind turbine exclusivity agreements – what to watch out for

Onshore wind turbine developments have been all but prohibited for almost a decade due to the restrictions imposed by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). A recent amendment to the…


Expert advice for making trees work on your farm

Large-scale tree planting has come under fire for taking up productive farmland and altering the character of local environments. But the right tree, planted in the right place, can generate…


Experts outline on-farm renewable energy options

Renewable energy has become a popular on-farm solution for cutting emissions and reducing bills from mainstream suppliers. So what are the options for renewable energy use on farm? In the…


Farm visitor attractions facing ‘unfair’ business rates

Farm attractions should consider challenging their assessments for business rates, say advisers, as they are being overcharged by up to £3m a year. This is as a result of the…


Renewable energy investment: What to expect and what to avoid

Producing clean electricity is predicted to one day outstrip rural tourism as a secondary income for UK farms. Interest in investing in renewables or leasing sites to developers is high,…


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What opportunities does new biomass strategy offer farmers?

The area of land devoted to perennial biomass crops has remained stubbornly low, despite an aspiration to increase the use of home-grown biomass in the power, heat and transport sectors…


Why England’s onshore wind planning rules need reform

Onshore wind is a low-cost and efficient technology that is well-suited to the UK, given it is one of the windiest countries in Europe. The cost of installing turbines is…


Could sunflowers be grown on more UK farms?

Farmers looking to diversify their rotation or attract people on-farm to generate income could benefit from growing sunflowers this spring. Sunflowers provide a bulk ingredient in the bird-seed market and…


Sheep’s milk vodka diversification goes national

The 2022 Diversification Farmer of the Year winners, Tim and Tanya Spittle, from Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, have taken their unique sheep's milk vodka to a national level – though its distinct…