The only certainty for farmers and landowners over the next few years is uncertainly. For over 70 years individual farmers have benefited from price support and more recently from area payments for owning or farming land. In leaving the EU it is likely that the Government will move towards a system of payments which require landowners for providing a range of public benefits based on ecosystem services. Michael Gove has announced a pilot ELMS (Environmental Land Management Scheme) to start in 2021, with the intention of it becoming national and replacing the current Basic Payments Scheme, and indeed Countryside Stewardship, in 2024. How the detail will come about and whether Brexit will slow things remains to be seen, but we will all benefit from this policy which over time, which will improve air and water quality, reduce flood risk and enhance wildlife.
Many landowners are typically asset rich and cash poor. Farm subsidies have enabled them to maintain a reasonable lifestyle through farming alone but many have already successfully diversified into a wide range of business activities on the farm or private estates. The pressure to greatly increase farm diversification is growing in order to maintain the viability of farms and to uphold capital values. In the south west that has often been in connection with tourism, but the market is increasingly competitive and developing a unique selling point or a specialist niche can be very important.
Land and Heritage Ltd and its team members have worked with a series of landowners on a wide range of diversification projects including chalet developments, heritage garden restoration, new garden design, mountain bike and cycle hire enterprises, and woodland creation and management. We understand that all developments must be truly sustainable and meet the complex market requirements of the fast moving 21st century.
This year we will be exhibiting at the Farm Business Innovation Show at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham on 6th and 7th November, which with over 500 suppliers and 200 seminars, is the by far the largest event of its kind. There are an incredible range of options to see all at one location. Over the past few years this has become the premier national event for all forms of farm diversification and farm attractions, and we would encourage anyone interested in seeing the range of opportunities which are available to attend. Entrance is free and we would be delighted to see you there to discuss potential options for your farm business.