A new report published this week suggests that entrepreneurship needs to be the kiss-of-life for Britain’s struggling agricultural sector.

The research was carried out by The Andersons Centre in partnership with the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cranfield University’s School of Management. It found that UK farming is less entrepreneurial than other UK industries as it has historically been less profit-oriented and more concerned with subsistence and survival.

The report includes advice from successful farming entrepreneurs, and provides key points to help less entrepreneurial farmers develop their business, including engaging with other business people, trying new ideas, and making better and fuller use of farm resources.

Dr Muhammad Azam Roomi from Cranfield University’s School of Management who co-authored the report said: “It is clear that farmers need to aspire to be successful business people like Sir Richard Branson or Lord Alan Sugar. Even those who don’t see themselves like that at all could learn to become more entrepreneurial.”

Graham Redman, an agricultural consultant at The Andersons Centres who co-authored the report, said: “Farms are remarkably strong places from which to develop entrepreneurial businesses. They have valuable resources, most of which have been relatively inefficiently deployed, and often have a strong capital base. Of fundamental importance for successful entrepreneurialism on farm, is that the business must remain true to its agricultural roots, and respects the land and ‘home farm’ as their golden goose which lays the golden egg of entrepreneurialism.”

Professor Leon Terry, Director of Agrifood at Cranfield University said: “From the foot and mouth crisis to the recent flooding in the UK, it is clear that the agricultural business faces immense challenges. Cranfield is already working with some fantastically innovative farms and producers to help bring the latest technological and scientific advances to agriculture and food production. I think we will see more future-focussed farms in the coming years as they seek to build robust and sustainable business models.”

Commissioned by the Oxford Farming Conference which has been happening this week, the research was sponsored by the law firm Burges Salmon.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

Leadership and Management at Cranfield

For more than 40 years Cranfield has been a world leader in management education and research, helping individuals and organisations learn and succeed by transforming knowledge into action. We are dedicated to creating responsible management thinking, improving business performance and inspiring the next generation of business leaders. We work to change the lives of our students and executives by encouraging innovation and creative thinking. Organisations as diverse as Jaguar Land Rover, BAE Systems, Royal Dutch Shell, L’Oreal, UNICEF and the African Development Bank have benefitted from our work, which ranges from management research projects, through staff talent management development on our MBA courses to customised executive programmes.

Agrifood at Cranfield

Agrifood has been a key strategic theme at Cranfield University for over 40 years. We have internationally recognised expertise across both domestic and international food supply chains from primary food production, inputs - soil, plants and water, through to point of sale, waste reduction and applied informatics.

Students work closely with our partners in industry, Government or the NGO sector. We understand our clients’ challenges because more than 80% of the University’s business comes from sources other than Government. Most of our academic staff have spent considerable portions of their career in industry or Government, and are especially solution-oriented. We delight in assembling pan-University teams of experts from across our skill sets, often in collaboration with other Universities, and consultants, to meet challenges that fall outside the conventional academic disciplines.