Speaking to the Young Farmers about Farming Diversification

Today, we got the chance to speak to our local Young Farmer’s group about what we do at Well’s Shepherd Huts. It was great to be asked intelligent, thoughtful questions from the next generation of farmers as we shared what our shepherd huts could do to help diversify not only current farmlands but also how companies can help to increase rural employment.

Being part of the farming community, Ian and Joanne were happy to have the chance to speak about how farming is diversifying into more areas than just the traditional ones.

What is farming diversification?

Farming Diversification is where a farm branches out into other profit-making ventures outside of traditional farming, such as setting up holiday lets on farmland and utilising the space for accommodation.

Another great aspect of farming diversification is that it brings more tourists and trade to rural areas, which tend to help boost local economies. As we are based in Ribchester, Lancashire, our customers help to maintain rural jobs by working with us to create their shepherd huts. For a farm that is diversifying from traditional farming into offering accommodation, this can also help to increase their other businesses. If a dairy farm also produces ice cream or cheese, they will be helping to bring tourism and hopefully repeat trade for their products. They could even include samples of their other products in their shepherd huts for their guests.

Each year, more farmers are choosing to diversify so that they have different means of income as well as their traditional working farms. While some build B&B-style accommodation on their land, we discussed with the Young Farmers how a shepherd hut could help to diversify farmland without having to undertake a huge building project, but also how it resonates with the history of farming and in keeping with the surroundings of the farm.

While many tourists like the idea of getting back to nature and slowing down, we are also very fond of our home comforts. While many enjoy camping, there is a large number of tourists who would prefer to stay in a hotel. As a shepherd hut can be connected to mains electricity and plumbing, the comforts of a private bathroom and plug sockets can help an apprehensive tourist to decide to stay within a more rural setting compared with choosing a more urban one.

An added benefit for utilising a shepherd hut as part of your diversified business portfolio is that you can move its location on your land more easily. If you’d like to give your customers a more secluded spot on the farm during the summer months but feel that during the winter, you would like to change its location, this is possible with a shepherd hut compared with brick-and-mortar accommodation.

Overall, diversification can help all aspects of a farming business to grow and gain exposure. This can be great for the wider community as well as the individual farmers who now have another stream of revenue.

The Young Farmer’s responded positively to the idea of farming diversification. From the questions and feedback they gave it appears that farming diversification is very much in the future of any farming business.

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