Farmers urged to diversify to grow their business

Afforestation can help improve returns for farmers. Picture: Pamela Grigg
Afforestation can help improve returns for farmers. Picture: Pamela Grigg
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Many Scottish farmers are yet to grasp the commercial opportunities on their own doorsteps that could help transform their businesses.

According to rural property agents CKD Galbraith, more farmers should “think outside the box” and look beyond the scope of normal farming or diversification schemes.

Simon Brown, head of the firm’s farm sales division, said that there were many openings for farmers to make their greatest asset – their land - work better for them.

“This is not about diversification in the traditional sense or a criticism of farmers. It’s about seizing the commercial opportunities,” he said.

READ MORE: Farm diversification for a profitable future

Brown added that many farmers could generate an additional income stream without having to operate another activity.

“In an era where there is mostly likely to be less subsidy and more impact from volatile global prices, utilising land to maximum effect will be increasingly important,” he said.

He said that afforestation or mineral extraction could improve returns – as could having land included in the local development plan.

Brown also said that at a time of historically low interest rates there was potential for farmers to generate more income from borrowing.

“There is every chance that farmers with significant equity in their property can borrow at around 3 per cent or less,” he said.

“The cash could then be invested in commercial ventures that could yield 8 per cent return on investment, and that could transform the income of a farm business.

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