Broadening a business beyond its traditional farming base is increasingly common. You might be motivated by identifying an alternative income source or an opportunity to use your existing resources more effectively. Alternatively, your new venture may be intended to complement the skills of other family members. Whatever your motivation, we can provide you with the legal advice and assistance necessary to ensure your core business is protected and your new investment complies with its legal obligations.
It is now increasingly common for farmers to expand their business beyond their traditional operations to include:
- Retail outlets such as farm shops or attending famers’ markets;
- Bed & Breakfast or residential accommodation;
- Rental of office, storage or warehousing within previously redundant buildings;
- Non-food energy crops or renewables;
- Leisure and tourism, including fishponds and adventure activities;
- Educational or rural skills workshops.
Whatever enterprise you wish to incorporate, along the way you will need to consider:
- How to finance the initial investment.
- What marketing is required to move forward?
- The legal requirements to establish the new enterprise.
- Are there any protections that may be required for the core farming business?
A risk assessment of the new venture is essential. At Porter Dodson our experience of such planning will allow us to advise you as to the correct business vehicle for the new enterprise, at the centre of which will be the protection of your core farming business.
A more relaxed planning regime enables you to change the use of redundant buildings up to 500m squared from an agricultural designation without the need for planning permission. There is a requirement for prior notification in case the alteration causes an impact on highways or flooding risks, yet the opportunity is there to take advantage of underutilised space and move towards shops, cafés, or other business storage or leisure uses.
It might be the case that a new trading structure for that particular venture is sensible. This can be attractive depending on risk or if wider members of the family are involved. In addition we can assist with trading terms, as well as the regulatory and licensing requirements that might be required. Any new venture affords an opportunity to consider and factor in any possible succession opportunities, which with non-farming children can often be attractive.