Farm diversifications which require small initial investments and low management were becoming increasingly popular as farmers look to replace the income from direct payments. Dog walking is one such option for farm diversification.
Facilities for dog walking have seen a massive increase as demand soared following lockdown, when many people bought dogs for companionship and were looking for somewhere safe to exercise them.
Edward Clarke, planning consultant at Cheffins, said: “It has really taken off.”
He said he had initially been sceptical, but clients launching a dog walking field with a monthly subscription were now oversubscribed as the clubs had seen a massive rise in popularity.
Farmers diversifying into dog facilities needed some sort of electric gate system and hedging to keep the field secure, as well as some kind of online booking system.
“Self-storage is another popular diversification. It is very cost effective. You do not need to go into it with a lot of money,” he said, adding it was something that could be started on a small scale and added to as the business grew.
Will Gemmill, Ceres Rural, said most farms could diversify in some way, even if a tenant farmer, although this could require the landlord’s permission.
Other popular farm diversifications he had seen included camping and campsites, caravan storage and offices.
“There are some pretty easy wins,” he said, adding there were options whether farmers wanted something ‘low key’ or were happy to engage with the general public.
If you are planning a farm marketing strategy to promote your farm diversification we would also recommend seeking support from marketing advisors, you can Check out our farm marketing strategy guide here, or you can book a consultation with us here.
Article taken from Farmer’s Guardian