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Could you generate more revenue from your land?

Boosting productivity and diversifying income streams has become increasingly popular with farmers and landowners as they fight to generate additional revenue in the face of price increases, European imports and subsidy changes. As a result, the NFU reports that over 60% of members are currently investing in an alternative income source and 40% of are investing in some form of renewable energy generation to reduce costs.

Upgrading existing equipment can be a great way to strengthen your income, allowing your operations to become more efficient, often through speed, correct deployment of resources such as fertiliser, or automation. Plus, up-to-date machinery often has the capacity to handle an increased number of farming tasks and therefore result in a significant productivity increase. However, they do require a significant capital outlay in return for the potential of increased yields, rather than the introduction of a new income stream. Often this outlay is covered by asset finance, allowing farmers to spread costs over a set period, making the investment more affordable. Flexible repayment terms can mean loan repayments are made in sync with your seasonal cycles, meaning less concern over the impact on your day-to-day farming operations.

26% of farmers have already diversified their income in some way, with many leveraging finance to fund their project. Spreading the cost of an investment increases affordability, allowing you to get what you need now, and quickly boost your income. Solar farms and glamping sites are two of the most common investments but what’s involved and how much would they cost?

Solar Farms
Solar farms can generate income as well as save on your energy bills, but obviously take up a lot of room. The maximum non-commercial scale development at the moment is a pretty hefty 1MW, which will require about 3500 panels covering 5 acres and all-in likely cost you upwards of £700,000. Consultation with your local authority regarding planning permission, as well as working with your energy supplier are both crucial, but the process is becoming easier and supply options more abundant. Asset finance is a common way to spread the significant cost of this investment, whether panels are used on such a large scale or simply mounted on farm buildings for your own use.

Glamping Sites
If you have a practical location, glamping is a popular idea. You’ll need planning permission and should check there’s sufficient tourist demand within your region. Following that, you’ll need reasonable access, an area that you can deliver running water, electricity and waste facilities to, and flat areas for your chosen habitats. You’ll also need to think about how you service and market your site. Utilities, cleaning, laundry, customer service, a booking system and a website will all be important, as well as a plan to promote the business. Glamping facilities vary from bell tents at about £1,000, through 5m yurts at around £5,000, domes from £5k – £10k, right up to pods and cabins that vary from £5k to £40k depending on size and specification. Farmers often spread the cost of glamping pods with finance, as it’s easy to get going quickly then repay if you are generating income from customers.

Other ideas
Farmers are an innovative bunch, revenue streams created across the UK include: brewing and wine making, self-storage containers, pet boarding, dog training and rural skills, hosting events, establishing a natural burial ground, growing flowers, selling meat and/or vegetable boxes, opening a livery or stables, soft play and outdoor activity centres, converting outbuildings into holiday lets or office space, or even shooting ranges.

One route farmers should also remember is the 2024 upgrade to the Sustainable Farming Initiative Scheme, offering financial incentives for those engaging in renewable practices. More than 10,000 farmers have applied, earning revenue by renting out land for initiatives such as a long-term solar battery, turbine leases or a wider range of smaller installations that will contribute to more sustainable practices.

Portman Finance Group
At Portman we enable our customers to grow and capture opportunities, giving them the power to invest and achieve business goals. If you are looking to start your diversification project and take your land in a new direction or simply boost yields and reduce long-term costs by investing in the latest, most efficient equipment, call today to see how Portman can help your business.

We’ve recently supported customers with:

  • £30k short term loan for holiday homes in Cornwall
  • £40k, £28k and £62k for glamping pods at farms in Staffordshire, Lancashire and Hertfordshire
  • £30k for a farm in Norfolk to buy a Range Rover
  • £250k cashflow loan for a farm in Devon
  • £50k for renewable energy construction equipment at a farm in Dorset
  • £250k loan for a farm in Sussex to buy new machinery

Find out how we can help finance your goals by calling today.

Call: 01604 669352
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