A free handbook has been launched today to help farmers plan for the future during a time of great change for the agricultural industry.
The Business Models Handbook provides practical advice on business planning and innovation for improved productivity and profitability.
Published by the Agricultural Productivity Task Force (APTF), the handbook is relevant to those seeking to enter, diversify, expand or even retire from their farm.
The APTF is a collaboration between the agricultural industry and UK government, with an aim to bolster the productivity of farming.
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.
Finally, Step 5 looks at longer term planning to help businesses adapt as they evolve.
The handbook launch comes as the industry is facing some of the biggest challenges in a generation, with developments in agricultural policy, changes to support and new trade deals.
Explaining the rationale for the handbook, NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw, who co-chairs the APTF, said most farmers were assessing options for the future.
“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 free and available from today (11 May) on the APTF website.