Farmers in Cumbria are cashing in on ‘quick win’ farm diversification, boosting their revenues without excessive additional labour.

Over the past five years, there has been a significant increase in the agricultural sector's innovation as they seek to maximise income using their existing resources.

Farmers across the region have found new ways of turning a profit.

Renting out the land for camping during the peak summer months, collaborating with nearby festivals and events to provide parking facilities and introducing glamping accommodation, have become popular choices.

These ventures require little investment or upkeep, making them attractive "quick wins".

Will Robinson, an account manager at chartered accountants Saint & Co, has witnessed this trend first-hand.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, he has worked with over 20 farming clients to diversify their businesses, discovering unique ways to increase their income.

Mr Robinson said: "There has definitely been a spike in the past five years of farmers, especially the younger generation, who are reviewing their assets and looking at making as much money from what they have."

Adding that farmers are becoming more market savvy and that opportunities to add income without extra labour are very appealing.

He said: "Farmers are certainly becoming more market savvy and where there are opportunities to add income without having to do any extra work, it makes sense to make the most of their land."

Taking advantage of Cumbria's popularity with tourists, farmers are charging small fees for camping on their vacant land and even converting barns into bed and breakfast accommodations.

He said: "One client made a withdrawal from his investment portfolio to invest in some camping pods, and these are bringing in more annual income than his investment would have so it has been a very shrewd business investment."

These ventures do not merely generate additional income.

They symbolise how farmers are recognising the potential profitability of their land and resources.

Mr Robinson said: "These are great examples of how farmers are identifying that we live in an area really popular with tourists, so making their land accessible to visitors can be a quick win and boost their income quite substantially."

Keen to ensure these ventures are worthwhile for his clients, he analyses tax implications associated with business diversification.

The cost-effectiveness of most schemes, he affirms, is usually proven after careful evaluation.

Managing Saint & Co’s Wigton office, he warned that important factors, such as Value Added Tax (VAT) and Family Income Tax, must be taken into consideration.

Ensuring all financial consequences are accounted for is essential before taking that initial step towards diversification.

Saint & Co has multiple offices across Cumbria including its headquarters at Rosehill Industrial Estate in Carlisle.

Its other regional bases are in Wigton, Penrith, Ambleside, Whitehaven, Millom and Cockermouth.