Farmers with incomes from diversification projects could face significant bills from their local authority if they overlook the potential pitfalls associated with business rates, an agricultural consultant warns.
Rates will increase, but by how much depends on the location of the farm and any business judged chargeable to business rates.
While farm buildings and agricultural land are exempt from business rates as long as they are being used for agriculture, diversified farm businesses are often subject to business rates.
Farmers who let out land or property as a wedding venue will be liable for VAT if they provide any service over and above use of the venue.
A dairy farm which converts manure into methane gas has increased production so fast it is now making enough gas for 6,000 homes.
So-called biogas has become controversial in recent years, with claims that land is being turned over to fuel production rather than food.
But dairy farmer Richard Clothier insists there is huge untapped potential in natural waste.
"For us, the muck is now as important as the milk," Mr Clothier said.
A crop of companies is sprouting up around the world that wants to adapt the Airbnb model to the needs of people looking for a temporary place to work.
But would you rent out your home to strangers during the day?
The BBC's Dougal Shaw tried out the services of the latest one to open in London, Spacehop, and visited one of its competitors, Vrumi.
Letting out buildings for non-agricultural use is the most common and most profitable form of diversification for farmers, according to official figures.
The latest results from the Farm Business Survey (FBS) for England show that the number of producers who have diversified in order to find an alternative income stream continues to increase.
The solar industry has been dealt yet more bad news – this time stemming from decisions made in Brussels.
The European Commission has announced that it is extending import tariffs on solar panels from China, which the Solar Trade Association believes is wrong given China has invested so much in mass manufacturing of the technology.
New rules introduced by energy regulator Ofgem to increase competition among distribution network operators (DNOs) could potentially help reduce the costs and speed up the process of electrical grid connection for businesses.
A new poultry litter burning plant is to be built in Herefordshire, following a successful application for planning permission.
The facility will be sited to the north of Hereford at Maund Court, Bodenham, on Andrew Edwards’ poultry farm, which currently consists of six broiler sheds with a capacity for 450,000 birds on a seven-week cycle.
Farmers are being reminded that grants of up to 40% are available to farmers and rural businesses In England investing in projects that will create jobs in rural areas.
The Growth Programme offers up to £140,000 for business development, food processing and small-scale tourism initiatives.
Farmers with land bordering electricity substations could have a lucrative business opportunity. Strutt & Parker energy specialist Robert Paul explains. What is the opportunity? The electricity grid needs sites for diesel-powered generators, which can act as an immediate backup when there is a surge in demand for electricity or if a power plant is having problems. These are called short-term operating reserve (Stor) sites.
Owners of farm diversification businesses who think they are paying incorrect business rates are being warned they could lose thousands of pounds in rebates if they don’t appeal before 1 April 2015.
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