New opportunities for growers?

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07 February 2022
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Seminars explore what else can be done to generate cash.

THE coming years will see ever-greater competition for the use of land in the UK and, as the main occupiers of such a scarce resource, growers will be presented with new opportunities to generate revenue, according to the Andersons Centre, which is holding Spring Seminars about the subject in March.

Although it may not seem like it, the majority of the UK’s land area of just over 24m hectares (Ha) is still primarily used for agriculture.  More than three quarters of the country (18.6 mHa) is still comprised of ‘farmland’.  

Farmers have been using their land for more than food production for many years. This includes diversification and managing land for the environment, including getting paid for carbon reductions generated through existing commercial farming.

The amount of nitrates and phosphates in water is a concern in many catchments. 

The Environment Act brings into law (in England) the concept of Biodiversity Net Gain and the Covid outbreak has reconnected many people with the British countryside. There may be opportunities for landowners to exploit this – perhaps not through the access itself, but supply services to those enjoying the countryside, the seminars suggest.

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The difficult part for farmers is turning these opportunities (many of which are still in their infancy) into cash. The Government will be the buyer-of-last-resort for many of them through schemes such as Environmental Land Management. However, this may not be lucrative enough to replace declining income streams like the BPS. Private buyers of ‘land management’ may have deeper pockets and be more flexible in their requirements. Farmers may have to work harder to satisfy these customers than they would with Government schemes however.  

Overall, farmers will need to adopt a more entrepreneurial mindset and see their land as a resource that can be maximised in a number of ways, it is claimed.  

Andersons Spring Seminars are running at thirteen venues around Great Britain in March, looking at the prospects for UK agriculture in greater detail. For more information see our events page here.

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