REVIEW: Farm Business Innovation Show

The fifth year of the show for landowner diversification hit the mark with attendees and exhibitors alike

November 2017 saw the doors open at the NEC Birmingham for the fifth edition of the Farm Business Innovation Show. It attracted visitors from across the country eager to talk to the experts, find the latest innovations and discover inspirational diversification ideas.

From 10am on day one there was a bustle in the hall, with a fantastic vibe from visitors and exhibitors alike. Michael Eavis kicked off the Keynote Stage to a packed crowd who hung on his every word as he discussed how a farm and festival could work together, with a few tasty spoilers for the Glastos ahead! He was closely followed on the stage by Doug Gurr, Amazon Britain’s country manager, who talked the crowd through unleashing rural UK’s digital potential. The seminar agenda continued throughout the two days hosting top experts in a diverse range of fields from glamping to funding and castle diversification to weddings.

Farm Business Innovation Show

The Live Demo Arena saw a competitive speed yurt building competition on both days from Yurts For Life, and interactive demos throughout the day including from Segway and Panda eBikes. The Live Debates ran for the second year, featuring a panel of sector experts talking through hot industry topics and taking questions from the audience – topics included Succession Planning, Planning Permission, Equestrian Business, Glamping, Weddings, Social Media and Marketing. The live debate feature has been confirmed again for the 2018 show, with panel members and topics already being booked.

Those seeking business advice, resources and skills were spoilt for choice, with experts ranging from the Rural Payments Agency and DEFRA to specialist exhibitors such as Blue Ninja Consulting and Laurence Gould. Amazon launched its Rural Entrepreneur Academy at the show, delivering digital skills across both days.

Plans for 2018 are well underway; 83% of exhibitors have already re-booked alongside a host of new, exciting and innovative suppliers. The 2017 show has received outstanding feedback, but 2018 looks set to beat it already!

OAB’s Top Picks

Composting toilets are an excellent example of sustainable design. The range from Ecotoilets provides a safe and effective way to save resources and prevent pollution, while saving money and energy for the owner. At the same time they produce a valuable end-product that can be used to fertilise the soil! Check out the options including the funky new Egloo (aka the ‘Yellow Peril’).

Hiker Biker PodHiker Biker Pod
These sleeping pods have been designed as ‘a cost-effective way of providing accommodation for the modern-day traveller’ – especially those that enjoy hitting the trails and don’t fancy carrying a tent! Easily placed into fields, campsites, woodland or even agricultural buildings for an ‘instant bedroom’, they are available with solar panel lighting and USB charging facilities.

Benchmark UKBenchmark UK
Almost every glampsite, function venue and open air event needs outdoor furniture, and the range of picnic tables and benches from Benchmark UK has something to suit pretty much any style. Made from non-toxic, pressure treated timber with a 15 year guarantee against rot or fungal attack, the products feature heavy duty fixings for rigidity. Use code FBISHOW2017 until 22 January for 25% off!

Soak and SleepSoak & Sleep
Voted as the UK’s best ‘Duvet and Pillow Brand’ by Which customers, Soak & Sleep’s wholesale department offers glampsites, hotels and B&Bs cost effective linen and towels from entry level right through to the most luxurious items. Discounts up to 33%, with no minimum order quantities and free UK next day delivery.

Fron Farm YurtsFron Farm Yurts
Fron Farm Yurts manufactures handcrafted yurts, gers and roundhouses in Wales. The team presented its new pop-up Yurt-Roundhouse, which is a unique wooden framed structure incorporating the ‘wow’ factor of a yurt roof but has the look and feel of a solid, permanent structure. This versatile unit has many uses including glamping accommodation and is easy to put up and take down.

Fire Pit DesignFire Pit Design
These gorgeous spherical fire pits are handcrafted by husband and wife team, blacksmith welder Russell and Wendy, who has an extensive background in customer service. Limited only by your imagination, the fire pits come in a range of popular designs or can be made entirely bespoke. Use them as outdoor heaters or as an illuminated sculpture, with multi functional LEDs. They can also be designed for use as a BBQ.

Diary Date
The 2018 Farm Business Innovation Show will be held at the NEC Birmingham on 7-8 November.

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