Almost half of all farmers in the south-east and east of England have already invested in non-farming activities such as building lets and agro-tourism, as they seek to diversify their income sources, Farmers Weekly reports.
The latest Farm Practices Survey, carried out by Defra in October each year, attracted more than 2,700 responses from farmers, providing a snapshot of how they run their business.
The latest survey across all farm types and all regions of England include a detailed section on how farmers are changing their businesses, such as diversifying into non-farming activities, investing in renewable energy or changing their cropping patterns.
The survey found almost one-third of farmers have already invested in things such as tourism and letting building, with another 15% expecting to do so in the next three years.
Investing in renewable energy is another popular development, with 51% of all farmers saying they would invest in renewable energy if it were grant aided.
Precision farming remains a minority activity on both livestock and arable farms, with most farmers citing “lack of relevance” or “lack of cost-effectiveness” as the main reasons for not adopting it. But of those who have, more than three-quarters said it was to increase productivity, while over half said it helped improve accuracy and reduce input costs.