REVIEW: Farm Business Innovation Show 2018

Bigger and better than ever before with expert content packing out seminar venues, writes Laura McDonald.

Farm business innovation show 2018

In November the doors opened at the NEC Birmingham for the sixth edition of the Farm Business Innovation Show, attracting visitors from across the country eager to talk to experts, discover the latest innovations and be inspired by diversification ideas. From 10am on day one there was a bustle in the hall and a fantastic entrepreneurial vibe.

DEFRA’s Henry Dieudonne-Demaria kicked off the Keynote Stage to a packed audience, followed by the fascinating Lord Carnarvon, who talked the crowd through the transformation of his estate, Highclere Castle, into the world-famous ‘Downton Abbey’. The diverse seminar schedule continued across the two-day event on the Keynote stage as well as the other seven seminar theatres. No stone was left unturned with topics including glamping, weddings, retail, financing, alternative crops and putting a bow tie on a llama!

The Live Debates Area featured various panels of industry experts talking through current hot topics and taking questions from the audience. Throughout the two days panellists explored the areas of renewable energy, business post-Brexit, glamping, planning permission, marketing and PR, and event hire and accommodation. This aspect of the show gives an opportunity for visitors to learn and interact directly with acclaimed industry experts, and is confirmed to return for 2019.

Those seeking business advice, resources and skills were spoilt for choice, with experts from the CLA, the Rural Payments agency and the NFU on hand. The CLA ran a whole schedule of seminars throughout the event which were hugely popular. These talks offered guidance on grants and funding for diversifying businesses, preparing your business for Brexit, top 10 tips when diversifying, and a variety of other relevant subjects. The insight from CLA experts was fantastic for the show and has received a host of positive feedback.

Plans for the 2019 show are well underway, with 86% of exhibitors having already re-booked. Farm Business Innovation 2018 has received an unprecedented level of positive feedback and the team is already working hard to ensure the 2019 edition is even better.

The Farm Business Innovation Show 2019 will take place at the NEC Birmingham on 6-7 November.


 OAB’s Top Picks


Glampsan product

Glampsan supplies flexible solutions for capturing, managing, storing and pumping water and waste at holiday parks, glamping, camping, and caravanning sites.

Specialising in the supply of plastic tanks from 150 to 30,000 litres for above and below ground storage of waste and water, its also provides a range of complementary products to help manage water and waste on sites both on or off-grid including sewage and grey water lifting stations, sewage and water pumps, water filtration and pressure boosters, sewage treatment plants and septic tanks, and level alarms and Elsan tipping points.


Tithe Barn Shepherd Huts

Tithe barn pod

Build your own shepherds hut with parts and plans. Tithe Barn Shepherd Huts has been building huts since 2011 but now sells plans for building, together with a comprehensive step by step guide. It also supplies all the essential components required to build your own shepherds huts, including cast iron wheels and chassis, timber roof structures, traditional hardwood windows and stable doors, curved corrugated roofing and wall panels, stoves, flue systems and much more.

Its components are used by shepherd hut builders, large and small, throughout the UK, Ireland and further afield and carry no identifying marks or imprints.


The Sign Maker

Sign maker stand

This team of craftsmen makes signs to suit all budgets – woodworking, engraving, casting, printing, sand-blasting, chemical etching, anoprinting and hand painting from workshops in Devon. They have a barn full of racks of timber, slate and other stone of varying thickness and can create anything from small wooden plaques to massive business signage.

Engraved signs are available in brass and a range of other materials including Corian which is perfect for stylish, maintenance-free plaques. Traditional cast bronze is ideal for important plaques, or opt for a traditional painted sign using a polyurethane paint available in Farrow and Ball colours.


Brilliant Trails

Brilliant Trials butterfly

Aiming to revolutionise the way people interact with locations, Brilliant Trails creates profitable experiences for land and property owners. Its extensive range of trail options include interactive sensory trails (fairy trails) and treasure hunts designed around three main themes: family experiences, history and heritage, and education.

The team’s passion is based around creating fun and educational experiences for visitors, while generating income for businesses.


Solar Technology International

Cost effective off-grid power product

A supplier of off-grid power and lighting systems for remote indoor and outdoor spaces. Designed to provide cost-effective solutions without any compromise in brightness or functionality, all the systems supplied are plug and play making DIY installation simple.

Whether looking to floodlight a car park or give warm tone illumination and power in glamping pods, Solar Technology is likely to have an off the peg system. If one of the ready made kits is not suitable then opting for a custom designed system is likely to cost a lot less than a new grid connection to a remote area.



Iglucraft cabin

These unique wooden cabins and saunas are handmade with a spruce shingle exterior and aspen slats inside, using a shingle production technique hundreds of years old. They have been designed to be easily transported by road and have insulation that can withstand Nordic temperatures of -25 deg C.

The range comprises four models from 10-19sqm, with bespoke units available on request. Each model includes a fitted kitchen and larger units include a bathroom. Saunas are available in several configurations with a relax room and wash area in larger models, and the choice of a woodfired or electric stove.

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