Blog: Farmers innovate to survive

Catherine Sleep | 18 October 2006

It’s hardly news that many farmers are struggling to keep their businesses afloat. Some have thrown in the towel and sought a less laborious way to make a living. But for many this would mean too great a sacrifice, relinquishing land that has been in their families for generations.

Some have turned their hand to organic food production, while others have developed specialisations such as premium cheeses or exotic meats. Others still have thought further away from their original activities and developed non-farming-related businesses that boost the income from farming. The article from Northern Ireland linked below investigates a number of these innovative projects, for example a farmer who has set up a motorcycle training school on his land.

That’s a great example of putting the resources available to good use, as the one thing that many farms do have in abundance is space, which for most other businesses is a rare commodity. A farm near my home town has also successfully thought ‘outside the box’, setting up Toytime, a business selling new and second-hand toys. It specialises in larger garden toys, such as trampolines and slides, and is doing a roaring trade, because there aren’t many toyshops with the space for customers to try out all the equipment.

Farmers change to survive in Northern Ireland


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