My Nuffield Scholarship in 2012 looked at thinking outside the box as a farmer, reviewing all your assets on the farm, from the skills of family members, to your location and un-used buildings, and how to drive increased profits through thinking differently and doing more with what you have.
Five years on from researching innovative farmers across the world, who positively embraced opportunity and change in their businesses, there is a lot we can learn from adopting a mindset where farmers are open to using any assets they have in any way they can, to grow their business.
Farmers need to re-position themselves
As we approach a period of inevitable change, we, as farmers, have the opportunity to re-position ourselves as the pivot of the rural economy, producing food for the nation but also acting as a base for micro and small businesses to develop, generating renewable energy from land we own, looking after the environment to allow our tourism sector to flourish and playing a vital part in health and well-being by giving the public access to the countryside.
Farms as rural business hubs
Our farms can be rural business hubs. We might rent out a disused shed to a micro-brewery employing four people. This gives us increased rental income but then there could be an opportunity to start up a tourism enterprise based on the fact the micro-brewery is on site.
Communicate farming's role
If we are to be the masters of our destiny, we also need to communicate our importance and role in driving the rural economy to the wider world. We need to embrace modern communications technology, from social media and online marketing to apps, to influence all the different stakeholders from government to industry colleagues and consumers.
Why attend OFC 18?
The 2018 Oxford Farming Conference will inspire those attending to go home and future proof their businesses. It will challenge the industry to take its head out of the sand and look to the future, analysing scenarios where our industry drives the rural economy.
Delegates will hear from inspiring CEOS who will share their own personal stories about dealing with adverse change. Our session on the changing digital world of communications will explore the significant opportunities for our industry to use technology in a smart way to engage much more closely with consumers and lobby and influence decision makers. And you will also have the opportunity to network, discuss and debate with others both in and shaping the industry.
Book to attend the 2018 OFC.