Driving innovation, diversification and growth in farm businesses

The Farm Business Innovation Show took place at the NEC, Birmingham, in mid-November. The event is dedicated to empowering farmers, landowners and agricultural professionals with the knowledge, tools and inspiration to drive innovation, diversification and growth in their businesses.

The primary purpose of the show is to bring together industry experts, suppliers and thought leaders to create a dynamic platform for learning, networking and discovering new opportunities.

The Farm Business Innovation Award acknowledges those who have made exceptional contributions to the rural sector by implementing innovative practices, diversifying their businesses, and driving positive change. It honours those who have successfully harnessed new technologies, sustainable farming methods, and creative approaches to maximise the potential of their farm businesses.

The award showcases the innovators who have transformed their farms into dynamic enterprises, offering unique experiences and products that captivate visitors and contribute to the growth of rural economies.

Announced on the first day of the two-day event, Mudcontrol, E-Pitch and Staygrounded were this year’s worthy winners.

Working with farmers to diversify incomes

Farmers Guide chatted with Brit Stops general manager Tom Clark at the Farm Business Innovation Show, to find out how he was finding the event, and the company’s reason for attending. Tom commented: “We are here to sign up as many farms as we can. We have a membership of people who own motorhomes, and the idea behind our business is to connect these people with places they can stay for free across the UK.

“The types of places we have already signed up are pubs, farm shops, vineyards, and breweries – basically, anywhere people can spend some money and have access to food.” Brit Stops is keen to sign up more farms and land owners, and found the FBI event to be the ideal place to do just that.

Tom is pictured with colleague Ali Lindsey at the FBI event.

Tom said: “The show has been great. There are a lot of farm shops, farm and land owners here, who we’ve had good  conversations with. We’ve signed up some estates and we’ve had our very first castle sign up; so we’ve experienced some really interesting places and companies that I didn’t expect to see here.

“If you are a landowner, or if you own a farm or a farm shop, or anything similar, consider getting involved with Brit Stops. You can diversify your business by taking motorhome tourists onto your unused land; you will earn some extra income at no cost at all.”

Visit www.britstops.com for more information.

“When nothing is certain, everything is possible”

Despite the various challenges faced by farmers and landowners over recent years, there continues to be a variety of options available for rural businesses to thrive.

Diversification is a key area and can provide additional sources of income. Defra statistics suggest that more than 60% of UK farms are involved in some form of diversified activity.

In most cases, a diversification project will require planning consent, however permitted development rights provide options to gain approval for various development opportunities via a Prior Notification procedure.

The feasibility of any project/proposed development will depend on a range of matters such as location, funding, the market, sustainability, staffing, and the effect on the existing business. Consideration of existing skills and aspirations within the business can be a good starting point. 

Holiday accommodation and leisure facilities continue to be popular with some rural businesses as a way of providing various multifaceted streams of income. 

The above was evident at the recent Farm Business Innovation Show, where Acorus had many discussions with farmers and landowners seeking alternative income streams and wanting to discuss how to maximise their assets.

Sustainable and carbon-friendly alternative to concrete

Mudcontrol Ltd supplies durable, ecologically-sound products made of 100% recycled plastic, with a rock solid 20-year warranty.

Mudcontrol slabs are a simple way to create instant, removable hard-standing for people, animals and almost any vehicle, rated to 60 tonnes’ load capacity. They are a “game changer”, the company told Farmers Guide at the Farm Business Innovation Show in November.

If you need instant heavy-duty ground protection with minimal mess and disturbance, Mudcontrol slabs are the answer; you can solve your mud issues in a matter of minutes, make muddy gateways and high traffic areas safer and more robust for your business.

(l-r) are Mudcontrol’s René Feuler, James Trembecki, Kerry Weisselberg, Barbara Feuler, and Louise Lamb.

Each slab measures 50cm x 50cm x 5.3cm and weighs 7kg (1 stone). They interlink with adjacent slabs to provide a stable, self-supporting, free-draining surface, either temporary or permanent, on any soil type.

The team were delighted to see Mudcontrol awarded the Land Leisure & Tourism Sustainability award at the Farm Business Innovation Show this year, commenting: “It is great to see our hard work and excellent product recognised not only as an industry leading product, but one that holds sustainability at the heart of the company ethos, we would like to thank the organisers for their hard work organising the show.”

For more information visit www.mudcontrol.co.uk.

Read more farm diversification news here.

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