Diversification Innovator of the Year

Crowd at Slapton Manor

Slapton Manor Farm, Northamptonshire, has been awarded Diversification Innovator of the Year (Small to Medium) at the British Farming Awards.

Run by Barbara Smith and her two daughters, Sam and Jo, the diversification of their dairy farm includes a wedding venue, bed and breakfast accommodation, vehicle storage and a sheep enterprise.

Sam said: “We have got to look forward and keep evolving the business. Farming is very much in our hearts and the success of the diversification is all put back in to moving the farm forward.”

Originally a dairy unit, the decision was taken in 2010 to get rid of the cows and look for other ways to make money. Initially converting a redundant farm building into bed and breakfast accommodation back in 2001, the business now has 14 rooms and an 86 per cent occupancy rate.

In 2016, the family started holding weddings and civil ceremonies in an old threshing barn and marquees erected on the site. They aim to host one wedding a week during the season and are almost fully booked for 2020.

The judges commented: “This is a family that is working together to run multiple and diverse enterprises securing the long term future of the farm. Their passion and enthusiasm shone through at all stages as did their willingness to adapt to different business models.”

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