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How timber buildings fit in the farm diversification trend?

Timber buildings are not an uncommon view on a classic livestock or crop farm, but what happens when farmers decide to diversify? Does the need for timber buildings go away? Quite the contrary, but to find out why this is the case you will have to read a bit further!

Wooden logs stack together to be made into a timber building

According to NFU, 65% of farms in England have diversified, and 48% of farmers is planning to set up or expand their diversification enterprises. There are multiple ways in which farmers can increase their revenue via diversification which guarantees various usage options for timber buildings - from offices, to glamping accommodation to stables.

The most obvious way to diversify a piece of land is to set up a glamping site, and coincidentally it is also the easiest to sell timber buildings to. Although there are unique glamping sites that utilise planes, busses, ufos and other quirky structures, for the most part glamorous camping locations use timber pods or tents on their land. Diversifying farmers can usually fit four and more glamping pods on their land, so it is highly unlikely that a diversifying landowners will stop with one pod.

Now it would be rather uncomfortable to greet guests sitting in a plastic chair by a foldable table without a roof over one's head, so it is safe to assume that most of those newly established glamping sites will need a reception area and the best option for most of them are garden offices. They look great, they blend in with the timber pods well and are easily removable which can be an advantage when it comes to submitting a planning application. 

Glamping pods at night

Since we’re on the topic of timber office buildings, there is another use for them in quite a different branch of diversification. Petting zoos are consistently ranked as one of the best diversification ideas and they are gaining popularity among entrepreneurial landowners. To set it up they will need more than just fencing and animal food. 

If you look around, most petting zoos out there have an on site food service facility available for the guests, usually located in a small timber building or a garden office if it’s a smaller site. But that’s not the only use for timber buildings in petting zoos, the animals need shelters so there is a need for timber structures of all shapes and sizes.

But many farmers tackle diversification from quite a different direction and instead turn into artisanal producers. It often turns out that the best way to sell their artisanal cheeses, meats or ice creams is to sell them in their own farm shops and so they either need to do a barn conversion or invest in a larger timber building to fit a kitchen and a few tables.

Another popular diversification route that should make the timber industry happy is to set up a riding school. The equine industry in the UK is both vibrant and valuable, contributing £8bn a year to the economy and there were around 311,200 people participating in equestrian sports in the UK in 2019. It is not surprising then that many farmers decide to open a riding school, which turn out to be especially enticing when the funding options from the British Equestrian Foundation are considered.

To complete such a project farmers need, unsurprisingly, stables. Obviously stable don’t have to be wooden but more often than not they are, be it for economical or esthetic reasons. But there are also other facilities that are needed - changing rooms, toilets and perhaps a reception and if you build a riding school from the scratch prefab timber buildings are the best option.

There’s undoubtedly a large market for companies in the wooden building sector to market too, especially that farmers have a wide range of options to fund their enterprises, such as bank loans and government funding. But sometimes it is difficult to find farmers who are actively looking to diversify their land, even with facebook and google ads and various marketing analytical tools. 

But there’s one place in the uk, where 18,000 diversifying farmers, land owners and rural businesses are looking for products to improve and expand their enterprises - Farm Business Innovation Show in Birmingham. The show is taking place on the 11th & 12th November at the NEC and you can find out more about exhibiting by emailing us at: patryk.kielsa@prysmgroup.co.uk.

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