When we’re wandering around our local supermarket or farmers’ market, we tend to forget the harsh realities of modern-day farming life that leave many farmers finding it hard to make a living. Livestock farmers, for instance, have seen their animals struck down with diseases such as bluetongue, foot and mouth and bovine TB. Add increased competition and slashed subsidies, and you’ll see that a farmer’s life is never easy. Many also suffer from loneliness and isolation, as well as money worries.
Philip Bicknell from the National Farmers Union (NFU) outlines another problem: “Agricultural and policy reforms over the last two decades have contributed to a business environment where farmers increasingly compete against global suppliers, so a fall in the world price of a commodity impacts on returns to UK farmers.”
Many farmers have had to think laterally to survive. Farm diversification – where the farmer turns to other forms of income outside the sphere of traditional farming practices – has become increasingly commonplace. In fact, more than half of England’s 57,000 farms have diversified in some form according to new figures released by Defra at the end of January. There are regional variations in many farms’ diversification – some farmers in the south-east are taking advantage of the need for office space in the region, whilst the south-west is more of a tourist hotspot.
Nowadays, if you fancy making cheese, picking cherries, smoking fish or indulging in your 'one man and his dog' dreams, you can head down to a farm to learn a new skill. On a farm holiday you can bed down in a cosy cottage or camping barn, a B&B or boutique hotel. Some of these ventures are so successful that they have overtaken the farming income on some farms.
The latest figures from Defra show that diversification looks like it’s here to stay.
How can OPDS help?
You may decide holiday lodges are the right route for your business - holiday lodges can create a reliable source of income, whilst allowing the farmer to keep control and ownership of their land.
OPDS can help to support farmers, with guidance and information all through the process of creating a holiday lodge park. Working alongside OPDS you will receive expert knowledge and working experience, in addition to access to the Site Development and Park Operations manuals.
We can advise on planning, manage the construction phase of the development, manage the home delivery and siting stages, through to completion.
OPDS can help with planning gains, park development, new parks and infrastructure requirements. With our sister Divisions Omar Park & Leisure Homes and Wessex Unique Lodges & Park Homes, we can offer turnkey solutions – supplying a finished park development.