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Well attended presentation at Farm Innovation

The Farm Business Innovation Show 2019: Top Five Takeaways

Across 6th & 7th November 2019, the Farm Business Innovation Show saw around 17,000 visitors and 1,000 exhibitors come together to support each other in driving success in the future of farming through a commitment to agriculture, coupled with a means to diversify and increase profitability.

Beautiful Glamping Hut

21st November 2019

Helping Farmers Diversify their Land

The Farm Business Innovation Show is the largest exhibition of its kind, in Europe. Its main focus is to help farmers gain the knowledge and ideas they need to diversify their land and bring in revenue streams in addition to traditional farming pursuits.

New money-making ideas for farmers

Farmers flocked to the NEC, to learn how they could diversify. Whilst times are challenging, many don’t want to leave the industry completely, so they came looking for new ways to make money alongside crops and animals. There was inspiration at every turn, from using farm water to create a bottled water business, turning unwanted wool into insulation for internet food orders, to using land for live music concerts or growing tea for export to China. Farmers were able to see things and think about how they might work for them.

Start with what you know

If you don’t have the expertise or other skills to draw on, such as connections in the entertainment industry or marketing qualifications earned at university, adding value to what you already do as a farmer is a great starting point. The show really underlined this message of starting with something you can do which naturally builds on your existing business.  For example, if you are a pig farmer, you could start by curing your own bacon. Many farmers started with a farm shop, which lead to a restaurant or a cookery school with locally grown ingredients. There are also a lot of other concessions to draw on from around the farm, such as renting any empty outbuildings.

Find your niche

Glamping was present and is popular as ever, but the general feeling was that there is still room for everyone, so long as you find your niche. For example, position your offering as ‘Glamourous glamping’ or on the other end of the scale ‘affordable glamping’ with something as simple as investing in converted giant barrels which sleep four adults and have storage. The same was to be said with holiday accommodation and experiences. Holidays which focused on bird watching or fishing or horse riding held their own in the busy staycation marketplace and many exhibitors demonstrated ways to diversify land by adding an attraction, such as a track with mini cars where you could charge per ride or a soft play and café.

Using the farm parkland

As far as using the farm parkland goes, the resounding view from exhibitors and visitors alike, was to think like a customer. Would I have a good day out here with my family or my kids? What is there to enjoy? The marvellous countryside, its wildlife, walking, cycling, fishing, birdwatching?

Farmers at the show were able to see how you could convert a building into accommodation for tourists or make use of otherwise unused land. Visitors might then be able to stay on the farm and make the most of everything it has to offer such as a long walk on a sunny day on the idyllic farm park landscape, watching the farmers milk the cows or even participating in feeding the animals. Farms were also making money when they offered visitors access to use additional leisure facilities such as a trim trail or an outdoor gym to get fresh air and exercise.

Next year’s show

Following such a successful and busy event this year, the show organisers have already booked the space for next year and it will be held on 11th and 12th November 2020. Tickets will still be free and will be on sale soon, and if you would like to exhibit they are already taking enquiries here.

If you would like to make an enquiry about how an outdoor gym can help your farm to make additional revenue, please contact the Fresh Air Fitness Outdoor Gym sales team on 01483 608 860 or you can view our full product range at www.freshairfitness.co.uk

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