Farming column with Sam Walton

A successful farm shop can make a massive difference to income.
A successful farm shop can make a massive difference to income.

I mentioned last week about farm diversification, so I have been thinking about that since then and racking my brain to recall some of the ideas I have seen.

Farm shops have been on the go for a while now and in ever increasing numbers with more things than ever to sell.

A great selection of meat on show at a farm shop.

A great selection of meat on show at a farm shop.

Several farms have cookery facilities, hog roasts, cafes, bed and breakfast, golf courses, stabling for horses or even a riding school.

Of course a lot depends on where the farm is and what the foot fall might be.

Clay pigeon shoots are very popular as are nature walks. On farm breweries have taken off big style and produce superb local brews with very obscure names.

Lots of farm buildings have been converted into offices and workshops, with several studios for artists.

This has arisen as some of the old well built brick buildings no longer have a farming application and not big enough for implement storage.

Storage for non-agricultural products is also big business and some farms have started their own haulage business and transport some of the things they store.

Caravan storage is another enterprise as is having the facilities for things like paint ball games.

One farmer I know grows hemp which is used for building houses as an example and his own farm house is a joy to visit and as warm as toast.

Pick your own fruit and veg in season is popular with masses of cars parked in the evenings and weekends, along with open farms with rare breed animals.

All these sort of things help to give the public a clearer image of country life and just what a farm can do. While these and many more show great fortitude it strikes me that it is very sad that farms have had to adapt to these sort of things when their primary objective of keeping the nation well fed is so badly rewarded.