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How AF can support your farm diversification projects

12 December, 2019
With the rapidly changing UK economy and the position of agriculture within it, farmers may, more than ever, be looking to seek other sources of income. One way to do so, is from diversification of their current business activities.

Diversification comes in many forms and is widely considered to provide greater economic viability to a farming business.

In 2017/18, 66% of farms reported diversification activity of some kind. This is a rise from the previous year and doesn’t include other agriculturally based work carried out on another farm.
One of the main business activities for diversification continues to be letting out farm buildings for non-agricultural use. Often, these buildings or the land in which they stand, is adapted by the farm in various creative ways. Entrepreneurial businesses are formed, many of which use the farming environment as a great background for the business plan.

AF have supported many members with their new commercial ventures. These projects range from wedding venues and farm produce shops to fishing lakes and holiday lodges.
A recent example of this type of diversification comes from our member HT Thornton & Son, owner of Manor Farm. Manor farm was once a traditional arable farm but, under careful ownership by the farms third generation, business activities are now very different. Set on 750 acres, the site is now a mixture of farmland, wild flower meadows, lakes and woodland. With this setting brings a new wave of business activities. Careful planning and investments have given rise to a collection of glamping sites and holiday lodges.
A typical glamping site will have all the amenities of modern life, without sacrificing the tranquillity of the rural setting. Glamping sites and rural lodges are increasingly popular amongst many consumers, who no longer have access to our great countryside.
AF have supported many other members in their diversification projects, and members can benefit from expertise from across the business.

Working with General Supplies

AF’s General Supplies team can support you with your projects. For example:
  • Fencing of all varieties

  • Catering equipment and electrical appliances

  • Waste disposal arrangement and information

  • Shipping containers


To discuss your requirements, contact: generalsupplies@theAfgroup.co.uk

Working with Buildings

AF’s Buildings team are also able to support you in the following ways:
  • Site visit from our Business Development Manager to discuss the project and how we can help

  • Work directly with your builder/project manager to ensure clears lines of communications

  • Advise on suitable materials and suppliers to ensure competitive pricing across the whole project

  • Supply building materials from foundation to decoration and almost everything in between


Contact the buildings team: buildings@theafgroup.co.uk

Working with Machinery

Whilst utilising farm buildings is common, it is worth considering other forms of business. Self-storage, shooting events, solar farms or adventure parks are all opportunities to be had. Not all diversification requires large capital investments, more traditional types take advantage of the skills required on a working farm.

Making use of the farms current machinery assets can be very lucrative. Not everything needs to be owned, just the skills to use them.

The Machinery team can provide great rates on hired equipment -from excavators and diggers for ground clearance work to toilets and shower blocks. Groundcare equipment such as lawn mowers, chainsaws and tools, and ATV’s/quadbike can also be sourced.

Asset funding that may be needed to purchase any additional machinery/equipment or invest in technology can be provided.

To discuss, contact: machinery@theafgroup.co.uk

Get in touch

Contact us

If you have any queries or would like to find out more please get in touch.
info@theafgroup.co.uk 01603 881881Honingham Thorpe, Colton, Norwich, Norfolk NR9 5BZ
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