At our Biodiversity Net Gain Breakfast Briefing event last month, we were pleased to co-host with Antony Pearce from Dudley Peverill.
Antony is a third-generation farmer based in Buckinghamshire, who has experienced his fair share of trials and tribulations owing to HS2’s route through his farm. His unparalleled knowledge and experience, savvy business acumen, and tenacity provided valuable insight to attendees on how to overcome key challenges in agricultural diversification projects and deliver on their diversification aspirations.
If you’re a landowner or farmer who is thinking about a rural diversification project, but not sure where to start, it can be a little daunting. So, here’s Antony’s top tips to get it off the ground…
1. MAKE A PLAN
It was clear from Antony’s presentation that developing a diversification strategy is essential.
It might seem laborious to begin with when you’re raring to get started, but spending the time to set out your objectives, budget, timeline, risk, opportunities, partners, etc. will most definitely save you time and money in the long run.
2. FINANCING THE PROJECT
It’s important to understand market demands and to stay up to date with legislation changes that might impact your diversification project. How you choose to finance the project is entirely up to you and there are a number of ways you can do so, including government funding schemes.
3. KNOW YOUR CONSTRAINTS
Every project comes with constraints. Rather than starting your project and bumping into your constraints along the way, it’s worth taking some time to identify what your constraints are at the very beginning.
Whether it’s time constraints for you as a landowner, environmental limitations, accessibility to markets, or finance – evaluating these constraints early on will allow you to pre-empt issues that might arise and develop solutions on how to manage them.
4. FIND TRUSTED PARTNERS
Find trusted professionals who can help you realise your vision and manage the process from inception all the way to delivery. These partners will take the weight off your shoulders and help keep the project moving along to that all-important finish line.
We’ve been such a partner in this process when supporting Dudley Peverill with planning consent for a number of diversification projects, including the creation of a new spirit distillery and the conversion of a traditional barn to offices.
5. SUCCESSION DISCUSSIONS
Asset planning is important. It might not be the most upbeat conversation of your day, but your succession will most likely have some implications for your diversification project and investments.
With the upcoming mandatory biodiversity net gain legislation coming into effect in January 2024, it’s a good idea to be prepared and talk to professionals about how best to position yourself. Informed consultants can help to reduce risk in your projects and point out where new opportunities lie.
You might also be interested in reading: Mandatory biodiversity net gain coming January 2024