AN agricultural expert is predicting a surge in rural tourism ventures across Yorkshire and The Humber if farmers continue to embrace diversified business opportunities.

Latest figures reveal farmers across the region received more than a third (39 per cent) of their income from diversified business activities in 2020.

Total income for the region’s farmers fell by £206 million last year to £246 million, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with £96 million coming from diversified business activities.

With farmers now facing the loss of direct payment subsidies – as the tourism sector accelerates its recovery from Covid – Rupert Wailes-Fairbairn of rural insurance broker Lycetts believes 2022 will be year that many more reinvent their businesses.

He said: “As farmers face burgeoning financial challenges and a period of unprecedented industry change, many will be planning now to protect their financial futures over the next 12 months.

“To help them achieve this, a range of new business activities are likely to be embarked upon, from the hosting of experience days to putting non-productive land to revenue-generating use with the introduction of glamping pods, tent pitches, shepherd huts or yurts.

“The vast untapped business opportunities for the sector are clear."