Category: Updates

How to make a sporting diversification work for your farming business

28th June 2019

It’s notoriously difficult to make money from a farm or small estate sporting enterprise, yet their presence often plays an important part in the wider farming business.

Letting to an individual or syndicate is a worthwhile agreement that helps relieve some of the financial risk and management time, while delivering the majority of the same benefits including proper security and an additional income stream.

Whether it’s fishing rights, deer stalking opportunities or the chance of a fully driven shoot on your land there are benefits to leasing your land for sporting purposes. Tomos Davies discusses some of the main considerations.

What is included?

This will depend entirely on what is available on the ground. You may well have the opportunity of offering game shooting, fishing as well as deer stalking.

Once you know what quarry can be offered you also need to decide if you have a building the sporting tenant could use. Have you a spare shed to use as a shoot room or is there potential for a fishing bothy or deer larder. If there is scope for a fully driven shoot a tenant may well want to house a keeper, this can all add value to the sporting package you can offer to a potential tenant.

Agreement

The agreement can be flexible. Whether you lease to a syndicate or individual it could specify the number of birds released, and deer or fish caught. There could be a requirement to have no more than a certain number of days shooting and that they take place on certain days in the week. The lease could include a part of or all of the farm/estate, so there will be need for some form of cover if used as a driven shoot therefore woodland or at the least access to plant cover crops is important. But do make sure that the sporting venture does not infringe any existing woodland management plans.

Careful consideration will be needed if you are to give differing leases to different tenants, for example deer stalking to one tenant and game shooting to another. The relationship must work well, and each party should be fully aware of their rights and responsibilities.

Rent

The rent will vary depending on what’s on offer. Good rolling countryside that has the opportunity to create good sport will demand a slightly higher price than flat fields. Land taken for cover crops will likely demand a full agricultural rent while woodland rents will vary depending on their size and type.

There is also scope to retain a few days shooting and/or deer carcases for the freezer in addition to some rent.

When deciding if you would like to rent your rights or have been approached by a syndicate/individual there are obvious benefits of added security on the land as well as the opportunity of work parties to help manage over grown coppices or river banks, and of course an additional source of revenue from your assets.