Campsite website offers diversification aid for farms

Farmers in Wales will be able to find out how to earn thousands of pounds in extra income at this year’s Royal Welsh Show.

Although the Welsh Government announced earlier this year that BPS payments would be paid in full in 2022, a gradual transition to its replacement – the Sustainable Farming Scheme – is expected to start soon and could lead to reduced farm incomes in all the countries.

This could leave many farmers in Wales facing an uncertain future.

Help will be on hand at this year’s show, where farmers can find out how diversification could secure the long-term future of their business.

Pitchup.com – Europe’s largest outdoor accommodation provider – will be on hand as part of a UK road show aimed at helping Welsh farmers take advantage of the ongoing holiday boom.

They will be on hand to discuss setting up a caravan or campsite under Authorized Development Rights (PDR), which allows farmers and landowners to operate a campsite without applying for planning permission.

Currently, the PDR allows farmers to operate such a site for up to 28 days a year, but the Welsh Government recently carried out a consultation on extending this site permanently to 56 days, the outcome of which is expected to be announced shortly.

Pitchup.com will also advise on joining an exempt organization to help farmers diversify into the agritourism sector and on applying for planning permission for those wishing to establish permanent campsites.

Dan Yates, founder of Pitchup.com, said campsites in particular are the easiest and fastest form of diversification.

They are also among the most profitable, with even smaller venues generating an average of £13,000 during the summer holiday season.

Pitchup.com’s highest earning Welsh farm campsite operating as a permitted development earned £57,000 last year, and its highest earning Welsh farm camp operating as an exempt organization earned £72,000.

Wales’ highest earning campsite listed on Pitchup.com brought in £327,000 while helping the local economy recover from the Covid pandemic.

Mr Yates said: “Farmers in Wales could be hit hard by the phasing out of the basic payment scheme. But there is hope. By diversifying into even small-scale tourism, farmers can generate the additional income needed to make their farm business profitable.

“It’s quick and easy to do and, most importantly, it doesn’t interfere with the agricultural calendar, so the two parts of the business fit together nicely.”

Mr Yates added that farmers can choose the level at which they can start an agritourism project.

“At its simplest, a small farm campsite only needs running water and toilets to operate, which requires a very small investment,” he said.

“But even those can generate thousands of pounds over a season.

“A lot of times farmers start with that and when they realize how easy it is, they build on what they’re doing. This could mean a toilet block, caravan sites or even applying for planning permission for a permanent site. It’s really up to individual farmers how far they want to go. »

Pitchup.com will be present at the show which opens today (July 18).

Farmers considering diversification are invited to visit booth K696 to discuss the best ways to capitalize on the booming agri-tourism sector.

About Jean R. Manzer

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