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Innovation Issue: July 2018

Post Brexit Driving forward the rural economy


Top 5 Land Diversification ideas

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The Glamping Revolution Whats on? Events Calendar




ONTENTS Post Brexit


Driving forward the rural economy

Top 5 land diversif ication ideas


Glamping Revolution


Industry Spotlight



Kate Morel

Glamping Feature

Events Calendar What’s on this month?


Rural Innovation Feature

Post-Brexit Driving Forward the Rural Economy

In the coming year, the countryside across the United Kingdom will experience an unparalleled period of change. As we prepare to leave the EU, Britain faces an opportunity to completely reform the pivotal support system which determines food production, rural communities and natural environment. Earlier this year Michael Gove announced plans which would replace EU CAP subsidies after Brexit. UK Farmers are currently paid part of a £3bn subsidy based on how much land they own, and Gove has guaranteed that farmers will continue to receive subsidies from the

“There has been no detailed analysis of the impact that withdrawing direct payments will have” Government at the current EU level until the 2022 election. But from 2022 farmers will instead be paid for “public goods” like boosting access to the countryside, protecting the environment or improving it. The largest of the subsidies will be curbed, with a maximum cap or a sliding scale of reductions. However, the EFRA Committee has criticised the Government’s post-Brexit agricultural policies for having a “notable lack of detail”. With less than a year until Brexit, there have been no specific details on how farmers will be supported in the future. EFRA has called for Ministers to ring-fence

Rural Innovation Feature

any cash saved from cutting direct payments for the rural economy and environment, to ensure promises on funding after 2022 are guaranteed. The CLA has also stated that while it welcomes the ambition of DEFRA’s consultation to construct a funding model built on using public money to pay for public goods, there has been no detailed analysis of the impact that withdrawing direct payments will have. They responded by publishing detailed recommendations within a Land Management Contract, aiming to give farmers a menu of ways to manage their land to deliver public benefits. Many have also highlighted the worrying lack of importance placed on food produce in the Government’s plans to allocate farm payments post Brexit. Since April, when Gove admitted his department had not addressed food production enough in their post-Brexit proposals, he has insisted that food is at the heart of British farming and “It would be impossible to sustain everything we value in rural Britain without thriving food production”. CLA President Tim Breitmeyer highlights that “If the scheme does not make good business sense and is not designed to work alongside profitable food production, the opportunity will be lost”. There is a clear need for post-Brexit farming policy to sustain a balance between environmental protection and food production to drive the rural economy in the longterm, which Michael Gove has so far failed to propose. There are plenty of positives in the post-Brexit farming agenda, but without details of timing and funding it is difficult to be confident in the Government’s ability to safeguard the future for farms in Britain.



Rural Innovation Top 5 land diversification ideas

Top 5 land diversification ideas With land prices falling and the impending Brexit effects looming, land diversification is crucial for broadening revenue streams and reducing financial exposure. So the question becomes, is farm diversification a trend? According to Defra’s, Ms Lawrence “diversification is becoming an increasingly important aspect of farm income, especially as businesses look to reduce exposure to the volatility of agricultural commodities market”. The numbers don’t lie with twothirds of English businesses already having begun land diversification, generating a total income of £620 million during 2016/17 (Defra’s 2017 Farm Business Survey) a 14% rise on their 2014/15 figure of £530m. This shifting landscape has created an abundance of potential opportunities outside of the traditional farming structure. Below we have compiled a list of the five best land diversification ideas alongside real world case studies.

Rural Innovation Top 5 land diversification ideas

Natural Burials Two decades ago Carlisle City Council opened the first natural burial ground Since then 270 natural burial sites in the UK have emerged across the UK according to the Association of Natural Burial Grounds (ANBG) registry in the UK.

Rosie Inman-Cook (manager of ANBG) says natural burial sites have proliferated in the UK over the past few years. This peak in interest is mainly due to a shift in public opinion, with two thirds of us now preferring a woodland or meadow burial verus the current traditional model. Some burial sites are privately owned, others are run by landowners and a number are administered by corporate companies but there is plenty of opportunity to diversify your unused land for natural burials. CASE STUDY: Julie Chatfield - Crossways Woodland Burials Julie Chatfield, runs a beef and sheep holding at Crossways Farm in Devon advises the process of getting planning permission for a Natural Burial site was straight-forward and easy. Land owners only need to demonstrate that the site will not cause waterways to become polluted or cause any highway issues.


Rural Innovation Top 5 land diversification ideas


he agricultural industry currently faces a large amount of uncertainty and now more than ever, land owners and producers need to protect themselves against market volatility and unpredictability. With the farm to table movement growing in popularity, selling direct to customers through a form of farm retail is fast becoming a popular diversification trend. CASE STUDY: Fen Farm Dairy - Jonny Crickmore Fen Farm owners Jonny and Dulcie Crickmore have won multiple diversification awards at their farm, most recently being crowned ‘Diversification Farmer of the Year’ title at the 2017 Farmers Weekly Awards. Jonny was the first farmer in the UK to import and install a raw vending milk machine at his farm and has since taken to importing the machines and helping other farmers sell direct to customers. Jonny said “It’s a cheap way of adding value to your product and providing you get it right, a good, simple way to diversify.” The diversification allows farmers to sell direct to customers, increasing their bottom line profit. “I am passionate about putting dairy farmers in control of the milk price, rather than it being in the hands of the processor or the supermarket” said Mr Crickmore who has now broadened his farm diversification strategy further with the additional import of Montbeliarde cows in a bid to make a brie to rival the French, which is now an award winning cheese.

Fen Farm Dairy’s Raw milk & cheese


Rural Innovation Top 5 land diversification ideas


Health and fitness is a growing industry Health and fitness is a growing industry. With farming and fitness going hand in hand, more and more young farmers are blending their farming background with their love of fitness. Working out on a farm provides that natural, healthy element from being outside, and creates an exciting outdoor environment for people of all abilities to get fit. CASE STUDY: Farm Fitness - Tom Kemp In 2016 Personal Trainer Tom Kemp launched Farm Fitness in Essex, a gym with a unique concept. As a farmer’s son, Tom’s fitness regimes replicate farming activities using equipment you

would find lying around the farm, like old tyres and straw bales. The diversification has already seen great success, as Men’s Health named it one of the best gyms in the World this year! Tom has big plans for the future of Farm Fitness, as he looks to build upon this niche but in-demand farm diversification. He is looking to broaden his reach and build up his client base to help more people get fit! Tom says, “What we’re doing here is quirky and unique, but it really does get results and people love it”.

Tom Kemp - Farm Fitness © Chris Parkes


Rural Innovation Top 5 land diversification ideas

The British Beer Revolution and the rise of farm-to-keg brewers

Wold Top Brewery’s award winning Marmalade Porter

UK’s thirst for a regional beer has increased over recent years, with 300 breweries launching last year alone, accelerating the British beer revolution. With lucrative tax incentives and strong government support, farm-to-keg brewers are poised to take advantage of an accessible, growing market. Microbreweries are now big business in the UK market and a winning formula with the highest survival rate of any farm diversification.

CASE STUDY: Wold Top Brewery - Tom Mellor Founded in 2003 by arable farmers Tom and Gill Mellor, Wold Top brewery is a family run business by the third and fourth generation Mellors. Brewing superior quality beer from home grown barley and water that is filtered and drawn from the farm’s own borehole, the Mellor’s have developed a strong land diversification strategy and product that has won multiple awards.

Rural Innovation Top 5 land diversification ideas


Standon Calling 2017 (Credit: Standon Calling ~ Facebook)

With the summer festival season on the horizon, we couldn’t go past land diversification in the live events sector. With a 12 percent rise in live music attendance in the UK (UK Music ‘Wish You Were Here’ 2017 study) and a 76 percent rise in music tourism since 2011 the live music market is poised for further growth and will be searching outwards for potential land to service the ever growing number of UK music festivals. Michael Eavis, Glastonbury founder may have been the first farmer to host a festival on Worthy Farm in 1970, but

since then many have followed suit, with Standon Calling in Hartfordshire and Farm Fest in Somerset paving the way for future landowners to host events on their land. CASE STUDY: Standon Calling - Harry Pearman Standon Calling started 10 years ago with a birthday celebration for Harry’s neighbours, 10 years on the

Farm continues to host the festival which attracts 10,000 plus visitors to the farms location. The festival each year simply rents the land off the Pearman family and instead of them growing cereal crops they grow rye grass which is then cut for silage pre festival so it can be laid down for festival-goers.

Rural Innovation Glamping Revolution

Glamping Revolution Glamping has become increasingly popular over the last few years, with dramatic increases in bookings across the UK. With an abundance of open countryside, the UK makes for the ideal location for glamping sites, with structures ranging from treehouses and tree tents to cabins and shepherd huts.


Tree Tents


LifeSpace Cabins www.lifespacecabins.co.uk

Life Space Cabins are creators of fun dynamic life spaces. Â They create beautiful small spaces, using responsibly sourced materials and considered design.

Tree Tent International www.treetents.co.uk

Combining innovative precision engineering, traditional craftsmanship and the highestquality sustainable materials, they create award-winning glamping structures that deliver breathtaking experiences and enhance wild and natural places.


Rural Innovation Glamping Revolution


n Industry Spotlight We’ve searched the market to find a selection of some of the most unique and interesting glamping structures. Wigwam Holidays www.wigwamholidays.com

South States Of Arizona


Wigwam Holidays together with sister company Wigwam Cabins specialise in building and marketing glamping holidays across the UK, with sites ranging from the coasts of sun kissed Cornwall to the rugged landscapes of the Shetland Isles.

LogSpan BBQ Hut

Shepherd Huts

Tithe Barn Shepherd Huts LLP www.shepherd-huts.com

Tithe Barn Shepherd Huts have been building high quality huts for over 6 years but now sell plans for building, together with a comprehensive step by step guide on “How to Build a Tithe Barn Shepherd Hut”.


Logspan is a family owned business that is dedicated to selling quality timber products that are affordable. Whether it’s a Log Cabin to live in, a BBQ Hut or Garden Office they have a product to suit at the right price.


Rural Innovation Feature

Glamping is currently going through an exciting era of development, and although there are pockets of, for want of a better word, saturation, I still see a lot of untapped potential -we haven’t even scratched the surface in some sectors. Glamping can make good use of marginal or unproductive spaces, expand a catchment area, attract new customers and upscale events, such as weddings. Ideally, the revenues that glamping generates need to be considered holistically – it’s not necessarily just about the nightly rental fee. ‘How To’ Glamping is such a diverse and flexible accommodation genre that it’s impossible to cover ever possibility here. So, if you’re looking to add glamping to your land, or existing hospitality or leisure business, here are just the bones of how I work a project. No part exists in isolation, a mutually dependent synergy weaves them together, shaping the final form and function. Accommodation. One of the most time consuming, and important, subjects in my work is helping clients to choose the accommodation structure. It’s a subjective decision, and totally dependent on the type of business we want to create, but a few questions one could ask, are: Does it need to be all year, or summer only? Do they need to be low maintenance? And last, but not least, what’s the budget? You might note that I haven’t included ‘what’s the likely rental value’, this is because we can turn almost any structure into a top performing rental by employing a

cracking U.S.P. I’m being asked for more bespoke, or modified, designs than anything else at the moment, and this is certainly one way to create a unique selling point. Return on Investment. Set-up costs are reasonably straight forward if you know what’s involved, but running costs, occupancy rates and rental fees can be a guessing game for those that don’t know the industry. If you’re new to rental and setting up under your own steam, do your research, Google is your new best friend. Planning Permissions. This is an involved subject, where local development criteria can vary from one county to the next. Be prepared to back up your glamping application with supporting industry evidence, in particular ‘proof of need’, I’m been asked to write more supporting letters than usual. We could also look at camping licenses and exemptions,

Rural Innovation Feature

Greener Camping Club

which, although they impose restrictions, can be a good option for small to medium projects. And, last but not least, Experiential. Whichever guest profile we decide on, or business model we adopt, our focus should be on creating something that our guests truly engage with. People are increasingly looking for more meaningful experiences from their leisure time. If we get this right, the result is loyal customers, repeat bookings, great reviews, personal recommendations, reduced marketing spend, better profits. I hope this brief gallop has provided at least a couple of pointers. If you would like to discuss what your glamping options could be, please feel free to get in touch.

Kate Morel 07849 514588 / info@katemorel.com www.katemorel.com. A background in international corporate sales, hospitality and glamping, brings a wealth of creative and practical experience to Kate’s work. Focussing on robust ‘unique selling points’ and sound financial planning, she works with clients both in the UK and internationally. In response to demand, she also creates bespoke workshops, and offers contract support, to other companies and organisations. As one of the leading figures in the glamping industry, Kate supports industry events by hosting Q&A panels and workshops, and providing in-depth seminars. She writes a regular business column for two recognised B2B publications, and is a core committee member of the Glamping Association.



Rural Innovation Event Calendar

Event Calendar JULY/AUGUST



11-12TH JULY



UK AD and World Biogas Expo 2018 NEC Birmingham

Farmers Weekly Awards Grosvenor Hotel, London

IAg Ro





Countryfile Live Blenheim Palace http://www.biogastradeshow. com/


British Farming Awards National Conference Centre, Birmingham https://www.britishfarmingawards. co.uk/


Far NE





Rural Innovation Event Calendar


grE Conference oyal Academy of Engineering



rm Business Innovation EC Birmingham



Croptech East of England Showground, Peterborough https://www.croptecshow.com/ 29TH NOVEMBER

CLA Rural Business Conference The QEII Centre, Westminster https://www.cla.org.uk/conference2018



ountry House Innovation EC Birmingham

Farm Succession Planning Mercure Brandon Hall Hotel & Spa, Warwickshire





CONNECTING THE UNCONNECTED The NFU says 50% of farms cannot access internet speeds over 2Mb (compared to 2.3% in urban areas) 91% of farms cannot access speeds over 24Mb (12% in urban areas)

IMPACT ON PEOPLE 60% more food will need to be produced by 2050, the use of mobile devices, precision farming, GPS & other technologies will be critical to achieving this

40% of people say being online makes them feel less lonely 70% say it saves them time People with regular online access do better academically (25% increase in GCSE grades) Only 15% of farmers have reliable signal outdoors, which makes them vulnerable working alone

IMPACT ON BUSINESSES 71% of farmers have broadband access, but suffer from inadequate speeds

61% of NFU farmers have diversified their business, accounting for 25% of income. Lack of decent connectivity reduces options considerably. VAT, Vehicle registration, BPS, Livestock movement records, Animal Registrations & Online banking are to become online only 7% of farmers currently rely on expensive & restrictive satellite broadband, a viable alternative is needed

Get in touch to find out how Whitespace can help you get the benefits of high-speed internet:


0333 335 0573

Profile for Rural Innovation

Rural Innovation - July Issue