National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

11 May 2022

A free handbook has been launched to help farmers plan for the future during this time of change for the industry.

The Business Models Handbook provides up-to-date, practical advice on business planning and innovation for improved productivity and profitability. It is relevant to those seeking to enter, diversify, expand or even retire from their farming enterprise.

The handbook has been published with the support of the Agricultural Productivity Task Force (APTF), a collaboration between the agricultural industry and UK Government to bolster the productivity of farming and growing.

Explaining the rationale for the handbook, NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw, who co-chaired the APTF with Tim Mordan, Deputy Director in Defra’s Agri-Food Chain Directorate, said:

“The farming industry is facing some of the biggest challenges in a generation, with developments in agricultural policy, changes to government support, new trade agreements and increasingly unpredictable weather due to climate change. These factors mean most businesses are assessing options for the future, and some will need to make some changes to how they operate.

“Whether a farmer or grower is looking for efficiencies, expanding, exiting or wishing to set up their own business, one area to consider is the business model. The ownership model or the tenanted model tend to be the most common but there is a whole range of other opportunities that could be considered. This handbook is designed to provide an initial understanding of the options available before taking more detailed advice. We believe it is an invaluable resource when considering the future, which will help open up new ideas.”

The handbook is divided into five steps.

  • Steps 1 – 3 help with assessing the current situation and setting out business planning considerations. It offers analysis of different business models and considers how factors including access to land, people, and skills may influence business objectives.
  • Step 4 outlines the key business models in more detail, with links to case studies. It considers advantages of each, where they might best fit according to business requirements, and tax considerations.
  • Step 5 looks at longer term planning to help businesses adapt as they evolve.

Susan Twining, head of CLA’s Land Use Team, chaired the APTF’s Rural Infrastructure group which led on the production of the handbook.

She said: “This handbook will be a valuable resource for those considering next steps in their business, whether that is to drive efficiencies, look for expansion or diversification, or for new entrants and those who wish to leave the industry. The handbook will provide options and inspiration to support those changes.”

The handbook is free and available on the APTF website.


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