WESTCOUNTRY FARMER: Working to help seize opportunity

Christopher Stephens writes in the Western Morning News:



Full Text of Chris’s Article:

Opportunities are still out there

With so many funding and regulatory changes in recent years it could be easy to lose track of where opportunities exist for farmers and rural businesses.

Many have taken advantage of a more relaxed planning regime for the development of redundant buildings and have been successful in diversifying their businesses, perhaps into holiday lets or food and drink production.

Of course supplementing income is nothing new in farming. The financial attraction of Feed in Tariffs have made renewable energy popular but solar PV and wind energy projects are becoming more difficult (but certainly not impossible) thanks to a tightening of the rules.

In many respects that leaves the door open for more renewables such as hydro, roof mounted PV and anaerobic digestion. At Nash & Co we have recently worked with a prominent and entrepreneurial farming business on the establishment of an anaerobic digestion plant and its corporate re-structure.

This kind of optimistic approach is exemplified by the ‘Raw Milk’ producers of Suffolk who saw that a healthy profit could be made if they thought very differently about their business model.

Looking ahead, the sector will continue to benefit from rising land values. We believe that this combined with an appetite for seizing opportunities by forward thinking rural businesses should be energizing for the sector and result in the emergence of larger and more sophisticated farming businesses.

The best farming businesses have always made full use of their resources and that will never change.

We hold a quarterly Devon Farming Club at which we discuss current issues and best practice. If you are interested in attending please contact klapthorn@nash.co.uk