A recent article in the Irish News shows that just 6% cent of farmers in Northern Ireland are considering diversification post-Brexit, according to new research from NFU Mutual.
Reasons include –
- A lack of finance
- No interest amongst family members
- Poor broadband
The figures also reveal that over half (53 per cent) of non-diversified farmers in Northern Ireland still believe farming provides the best potential for their holding, but over a third (39 per cent) conceded a diversification project would make them feel less isolated
The most common diversification on Northern Ireland farms is renewable energy (40 per cent), followed by property letting (9 per cent).
Of those UK farmers who have already diversified, a quarter said they were planning to further develop non-farming enterprises after Brexit.
Co Down diversified farmer and NFU Mutual director, Dr Christine Kennedy said:
“Whether diversification is the right route for individual farms depends on a wide range of variable factors – but one thing is for sure: successful enterprises need full commitment from family members, good management skills and a clear vision for the farm’s future.
“Against a background of reduced direct farm support diversification offers some farmers the opportunity to complement and supplement their farm income from other less traditional farming sources.”
Chris Walsh, NFU Mutual farm insurance manager said:
“The basic choices farmers have available to them as direct subsidies cease are to maintain their current business models, specialise, intensify or diversify.”
”Northern Ireland’s farmers are incredibly resourceful – but for many, setting up a non-farming business is a step into the unknown so our report sets out clear information on the opportunities and challenges of diversification, together with insight from existing diversifiers and industry leaders,” Mr Walsh added.
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