Reports say more than a quarter of Welsh farmers will diversify after Brexit

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More than 25% of Welsh farmers are planning to diversify in to other enterprises to support their farm business after Brexit, according to research published by NFU Mutual.

The leading rural insurer’s Diversification Report provides information on latest trends, together with expert insight and analysis to help farmers make decisions on the future direction of their farm businesses after Brexit.

NFU Mutual surveyed farmers with established diversification businesses to gain insight into their experiences as well as farmers currently solely involved in farming activities to understand their attitudes and plans for future diversification.

The research found that from the 62% of farmers that have already diversified their businesses, over nine out of ten schemes (94%) have been financially successful.

The important role diversification plays in the sustainability of many farms was demonstrated with nearly two thirds (63%) reporting that the income produced by diversification was ‘vital’ or ‘significant’ to their farm. On average, diversified farms report that 27% of their income comes from their non-farming activities.

The most common diversification on Welsh farms was renewable energy (31%), followed by holiday accommodation (23%), and outdoor leisure (7.7%).

Not surprisingly, across the UK, boosting farm income was the main reason for diversifying – quoted by 62% of farmers surveyed. Other reasons included: providing a business opportunity for a partner or other family member (26%), utilising redundant farm buildings or unproductive land (20%), and providing a short-term income (9%).

John Davies, NFU Cymru President, believes farmers are doing the right thing.

He said: “Whether it is adding value to primary produce, developing tourism opportunities, renewable energy of diversifying into other off-farm enterprises or providing opportunities for the next generation, farmers’ ability to diversify has played an important role in opening up new opportunities to boost their income and secure their businesses.

“With the uncertainty our industry faces in the coming months and years, the importance of having these options available will increase."

The report together with a series of videos and podcasts produced to help farmers considering diversification decide how to proceed are now available to download on NFU Mutual’s website: www.nfumutual.co.uk/farming/farming-diversification