Strutt & Parker was delighted to sponsor the 2019 CLA Rural Business Conference, which examined the opportunities for rural landowners to grow their businesses by seeking out new markets.
The conference was a fantastic opportunity to learn from, and be inspired by, landowners who have embraced change and successfully identified a range of new market opportunities, both at home and abroad.
What is striking is that many are not only future-proofing their own businesses, they are also playing a critical role in helping society meet the big challenges of our time.
For example, there was a strong emphasis on the potential for landowners to tap into new environmental and social markets, through the delivery of carbon sequestration, biodiversity restoration, or care farming services to improve social outcomes.
Speakers also shared their experiences of how they have identified new markets for goods, ranging from compound fertilisers made from waste products, to non-food crops grown for use in industry, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and personal care products.
Key messages from the conference:
- Despite the uncertainties facing rural businesses, there are opportunities for landowners who are willing to embrace change and think differently about how they make best use of their land assets.
- Landowners can open up new income streams by playing a critical role in helping the government to deliver on its long-term ambitions on climate change and reversing losses in biodiversity.
- It is becoming increasingly important for private landowners to show that they are a force for good and that they are helping to address the big challenges facing society, including climate change, biodiversity losses and the need to improve the nation’s health and wellbeing.
- Farmgate prices for commodities are likely to remain under pressure – as the retail marketplace for food and drink is tough. The sector is facing the challenge of costs rising more than sales, with the move to online shopping and the rise of discounters also eating into margins.
- Understanding changing consumer patterns is vital as businesses seek to identify new markets, with the end user the most important stakeholder in the food chain.
Watch a video of The Countess Sondes talk about how the benefits of introducing non-food crops, such as echium, at Lees Court Estate in Kent.
CLA Rural Business Conference – Unlocking tomorrow’s marketsCLA Rural Business Conference – Unlocking tomorrow’s marketsThe estate is also engaging in initiatives such as a large-scale archaeology project, conservation work on the Swale Estuary and a tortoise breeding programme, which are delivering significant personal, social and environmental benefits.