You will find it helpful to get as much advice as possible as you develop your plans to diversify your farm. Specialist advice on diversifying is available in Northern Ireland from farming experts:
- The Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (DAERA) advisers can offer advice on your rural business idea, sources of finance and how to manage the transition from traditional farm to rural enterprise. DAERA's organic experts can advise on all aspects of switching from traditional to organic production. Find more DAERA information about organic production.
- GOV.UK has guidance on diversifying farming businesses and financial planning for farm businesses.
- The Ulster Farmers' Union has over 12,500 local members and represents the wide range of interests of farmers. Find out about the Ulster Farmers' Union.
You might need to supplement your existing skills with some additional training:
- The College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise who offer a wide range of full time and part time agricultural, horticultural, environmental conservation, equine and food courses. Find farm course information.
- Greenmount Organic Unit can offer local farmers advice on a range of farming systems, technologies and techniques.
Advice and support towards setting up your business can be found from a number of organisations and may be available from:
- Access free start-up business support from your local council. They will organise one-to-one mentoring sessions with your local business adviser and provide tailored guidance to develop your business plan. Complete a short enquiry form or call 0800 027 0639 to register for this free advice and guidance.
- Advantage NI helps 16-30 year olds to start and develop their own businesses and runs an annual national competition for new business start-ups. Find Advantage NI business advice.
- The Rural Youth Entrepreneurship (RYE) Connect programme provides workshops, interactive online resources and transnational business opportunities for 16-30 year olds in rural areas. Pre start-up, start-up, growth and reboot. Find out more about RYE Connect.
- The Northern Ireland business support finder is a searchable database that can help you find publicly-funded and not-for-profit sources of business assistance you may be eligible to apply for. Support may be available in a number of forms, including financial assistance and free or subsidised advice services.
Enterprise Northern Ireland has a network of local Enterprise Agencies. These support small business and community enterprises. They provide:
- information on government help for small business
- professional advisers
- low-cost loans, grant aid and other finance
- support for small businesses that are acquiring new information technologies
- support for business growth and development
- industrial and office space
Find out more about Enterprise Northern Ireland.
You may also need specialist advice, such as help with legal issues or managing finances - see choose and work with a solicitor.