A leading agricultural solicitor has urged Shropshire farmers to grasp every opportunity they can to diversify following the Covid-19 outbreak.
Helen Gough, a partner at law firm mfg Solicitors, says that the rural sector will inevitably get back to normal in the long-term, but being innovative is a way to ensure farmers can develop their offering further.
She said: “With lockdown pressures starting to ease it is expected that the farming industry will start to see things slowly returning to normal.
“It will take time, but with businesses like restaurants, coffee shops and other food retailers starting to get back on their feet, there will inevitably be a far-reaching call for more food.
“That alone shows good news for farmers is just around the corner and it will drive sales, but everyone should have a firm focus on what they can do differently in the future, how they can be brave and think of innovative ways to grow.
“There are some good examples of innovation even during the Whitehall-imposed lockdown. We are seeing farmers looking to use land to develop holiday homes, dairy farmers diversifying into the production of ice-cream and cheese, while others are looking at building units to let out to small local businesses.
“There are so many opportunities to do things differently and I am certain we will see countless more examples before the end of the summer as farmers lead the way to show how one industry can bounce back in different ways.”
Ms Gough also urged people who had been furloughed by their employers to consider signing up to help pick crops over the summer following a shortage of foreign workers who have been unable to enter the country due to lockdown restrictions.