Rural business Diversification Ideas - Alternative Farming Enterprises

Are you looking to diversify your existing farm business? Are you looking for something a little different from the norm? Here are some ideas to get you thinking when it comes to the livestock and cropping industries. An important factor to consider with these ideas is your audience. And is there a demand for what you are growing or producing?

Quirky ideas

  • Specialist grass
  • Pumpkins for halloween
  • Products for body / health ingredients
  • Hemp
  • Cannabis for medical use
  • Seaweed / algae
  • Truffles
  • Hydroponic production

  • Free from crops E.g. gluten free oats
  • Mushrooms
  • Speciality tomatoes
  • Vines / hops / cider fruit
  • Herbs
  • Chilli's
  • Nuts
  • Red Wheats Lupins / borage / millet / linseed

Cropping and growing ideas

  • Crops or seed grown for alternative market E.g. bird, pet, baby
  • Crops to be processed for food or body products E.g. oils, lavendar
  • Crops not typically grown in UK E.g. soya, quinoa, lentils
  • Varieties of common products for restaurant market E.g Purple carrots, black garlic
  • Energy crops E.g. short rotation or miscanthus
  • Pharmaceutical crops and products E.g. evening primrose

CASE STUDY - Family confetti business leads biodegradable market

Having gone from a traditional family farming business to one of the leading biodegradable confetti producers in the UK, we hear from Shropshire Petals Marketing Manager Ashley Corrigan how the business has gone from strength to strength.

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CASE STUDY - The Tailored Goat Company

An inquisitive mind and a noticeable growing demand for the end-product led Chris Dickinson to start his own goat meat business from the mixed family farm in Penrith, Cumbria.

Having grown up with goats at home, it was no surprise to his family that on his return to the farm after working for the NFU for six years, Chris wanted to start-up his own venture with goats.


Livestock and animals

  • Sheep milk, or goat milk or meat
  • Venison
  • Wild boar
  • Game meat
  • Unusual eggs E.g. duck or quail
  • Worms or insects
  • Beekeeping
  • Camelids E.g. guanacos or vicuna for wool
  • Ostriches
  • Poultry E.g. quail, geese, guinea fowl
  • Angora rabbit wool
  • Wagyu beef
  • Buffalo or bison
  • Fish farming
  • Reindeer
  • Veal

CASE STUDY - Organic business succeeds with flexible mindset

The desire to start an organic business drove Jan Billington to move her young family from London to South West England in 2002. But needless to say, what they were going to do when they got there and how they were going to make it work were unknown factors at the time.

However, their flexible approach to business and innovation alongside their hard work and dedication has meant they have established the successful, British edible flower business, Maddocks Farm Organics.

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