Top 5 reasons to shop local and support farmers

Top 5 reasons to shop local and support farmers

Top 5 reasons to shop local and support farmers

More people than ever are interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle with less negative impact on the environment, and one of the best ways to do this is to shop local.


When we say ‘shop local’ we mean buying food and other necessities produced nearby, rather than depending on groceries and other items shipped from overseas or outside of our local area. While the exact definition of ‘local’ can vary, depending on the production ability of your local area, it is usually anything produced within a 150-mile radius.

Here are some great reasons to shop local:

Locally grown produce tastes better.

It makes sense – which would have more flavour, a tomato grown locally, or one harvested weeks ago, then packed, shipped, stored, and then distributed to supermarkets up and down the country? Produce bought locally at farmer’s markets or other local venues is often harvested just a day or two beforehand, ensuring fresher and more delicious fruit and vegetables for you.

Food grown locally is more nutritious.

For similar reasons, food that is harvested weeks or even months before it hits the supermarket shelves has fewer vitamins and nutrients than locally grown fruit and vegetables. Once you pick a vegetable, its nutritional value will slowly reduce over time, so it’s best eaten as soon as possible. Often, produce like avocados and bananas, which have to be shipped in from overseas, are picked well before they have ripened, whereas local produce can be grown to full ripeness before harvesting. 

You will support your local economy.

Shopping locally supports local businesses, creates jobs, and strengthens your local economy. By buying directly from farmers, you cut out the middleman of distributors and big corporations, so your money goes directly to food producers.

Local produce has a smaller carbon footprint.

When you shop locally, the food has to travel a much shorter distance to get to the consumer, i.e. you. Food that has travelled thousands of miles from other countries or even other continents will have a much higher carbon footprint, contributing to climate change. 

It supports biodiversity and soil health.

Locally grown food is more likely to be organic, and less likely to be grown using heavy pesticides and herbicides. These are not only a little questionable for human health but can lead to soil degradation, a reduction in essential pollinators, and potential contamination of water and air. 

If you want to implement more sustainable farming practices and reduce reliance on chemical fertilisers and pesticides, ESUS Agri can help – get in touch with us here.

Slurry Investment Scheme – Guidance for Farmers

slurry investment scheme

Slurry Investment Scheme – Guidance for Farmers

Slurry is generated by livestock farming activities as waste from animals, and can be a fantastic fertiliser which is full of nitrates, phosphate and potash, all helping to boost soil health and support the growth of healthy crops. This can reduce reliance on synthetic fertilisers, which can be expensive for farmers and contribute to a myriad of other issues.


The thing is, storing slurry can be quite difficult, and if improperly stored, can pollute the water and air. This is why DEFRA is currently offering grants to help farmers invest in the infrastructure required to safely store slurry.

What is the slurry investment scheme?


This is a grant that can help farmers store more slurry safely and sustainably that complies with current DEFRA regulations regarding slurry storage. The slurry infrastructure grant is currently in round 2, and farmers can apply for between £25,000 and £50,000 to improve their slurry storage. The deadline for applications for round 2 of grant funding is 


This grant can be used for replacing existing slurry stores, expanding and building additional slurry storage, and equipment that can be used for slurry management such as reception pits, slurry stores, separators and agitators. The grant will cover 50% of the total invoice costs of these upgrades.


How to access the slurry investment scheme grant


In order to access the grant, farmers must:


  • Farm pigs, dairy or beef cattle
  • Not already produce and store slurry in line with the grant storage requirements
  • Not have stores in place which are already fit for purpose
  • Keep up with the minimum requirements of slurry storage
  • Use a nutrient management plan based on soil sampling
  • Keep the grant-funded slurry store covers in place, except when doing maintenance


For more information and guidance on the slurry infrastructure grant, see this DEFRA farming blog post and applicant guidance from for more details, and calculate your slurry storage requirements with the AHDB’s slurry wizard tool.


Do you need some help accessing the slurry infrastructure grant, or other government schemes and funding? ESUS Agri can help – click here to get in touch with us

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Back British Farming: How major supermarket, Morrisons, is leading the way in supporting UK farmers

Morrisons supporting farmers

Supermarket Morrisons has added a ‘buy British’ tab to their online shop at, enabling shoppers to buy British produce easily.


The NFU supports this decision, which comes after years of campaigns urging UK supermarkets to back British farming. MP Dr Luke Evans wrote an open letter, requesting UK supermarkets to add a ‘British’ filter to their online shops. This follows the NFU’s 2016 online labelling campaign which aims to make it easier for shoppers to identify British food when shopping online. A survey of UK adults found that 86% of them want to buy more British food.


Other supermarkets do not have this level of functionality on their website as yet. Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have made some efforts towards this, as they do have sections for British seasonal produce on their fruit and vegetable pages. Sainsbury’s also has a button that enables shoppers to select British meat and fish, and Ocado provides a ‘Best of British’ page. These are some positive steps that can help shoppers and farmers alike. 




Morrisons has also supported British farming by launching a support package that underwrites 100% of the cost of growing crops. Morrisons has provided this support package to a collection of potato and carrot farmers as of August 2023. If this scheme proves successful, they hope to roll it out to more farms in 2024. This package offers farmers financial security by mitigating the risks of crop growing, such as weather fluctuations and costs of land and fertilisers.



Here at ESUS Agri, we work with farmers across the West Country, providing agricultural consultancy and sustainable solutions. If you need some assistance with applying for government funding schemes, applying regenerative farming techniques, maximising profits, and more, get in touch with us.



Farming Overlooked in the Latest UK Shortage Occupation List

Farm staff shortage - Esus Agri Ltd

The agriculture and horticulture industries were recently overlooked in the government’s latest Shortage Occupation List (SOL). The UK shortage occupation list 2023 published in October did not cite agricultural roles on the list and this is unlikely to change in the near future.


The Shortage Occupation List pdf, lists occupations where employers face a shortage of suitable labour and where it is deemed appropriate to fill those shortages with migrant workers. For industries listed in the review, this means favourable UK immigration rules with the aim to help mitigate labour shortages. While previous reports have highlighted labour shortages in farming, this was overlooked in the UK shortage occupation list 2023, an outcome which has been deemed ‘disappointing’ by the NFU.  In its own recent review, the NFU challenged the outcome, conducting a survey on 563 of its members. The findings were a stark reminder of the challenges UK farmers are facing… 41.5% of respondents who are struggling to recruit and retain workers have reduced their production levels, a great concern when it comes to British food production. 


NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw shared his thoughts “It’s disappointing that the evident shortages impacting the agriculture industry haven’t been recognised. We know farmers are having difficulty recruiting long-term for vital roles in their farm businesses.”


Farming and the UK Shortage Occupation List - Esus Agri Ltd

The NFU review recommended the following roles to be added to the Shortage Occupation List:


  • Machine operator (field)/harvest operator
  • Dairy technician
  • Horticulture/potato supervisor with language skills
  • Egg grader
  • Poultry shed cleaner
  • General farmworker
  • Hatchery operative/catcher
  • Machine operator (packhouse).


To conclude, it goes without saying that UK farmers continue to face great difficulty in recruiting vital roles and this is undoubtedly impacting national production levels. Here at Esus Agri Ltd, we are in agreement that The Shortage Occupation List should most certainly be reconsidered and it’s in everyone’s best interest to mitigate labour shortages within the industry and support UK farmers.


Before you go…

Esus Agri Ltd has been helping farmers thrive since 1995. We have worked with farms from 40 ha to 100,000 ha, delivering truly sustainable solutions that drive real results for farming businesses across Devon, Somerset and the rest of the UK. To find out how we can support you with farm diversification, business management advice, step-by-step farm grants applications and more, contact us today!



What Farmers Can Learn From Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat Farm Shop

Jeremy Clarkson headshot - Esus Agri Ltd

The latest series of Jeremy Clarkson’s hit series which documents life on his 1, 000-acre Cotswolds farm has once again achieved great success. Clarkson’s Farm broke Prime Video viewing records, achieving a record of over 4.3 million views across the country for the first episode of his 2nd series and surpassing highly acclaimed series such as Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.  The series has been praised by farmers across the country for bringing the realities and struggles of modern farming to UK households. Well known for his opinionated and humorous nature, Clarkson does not hold back when sharing his experiences with running Diddly Squat farm shop and farm. In this article we take a look at some of the lessons farmers can learn from his approach.

Bringing the realities and struggles of farming into sharp focus

Jeremy Clarkson's Diddly Squat Farm Shop - Esus Agri Ltd

Dubbed a triumph, Clarkson’s Farm does a great job in showcasing the everyday struggles faced by the sector. From Government red tape burdens to sustainability, Jeremy also speaks frankly concerning various topics such as financial difficulty, shedding light on the importance of diversification and exploring different avenues such as the Diddly Squat farm shop.


What farmers can learn from Clarkson’s Diddly Squat farm shop

Queue outside Jeremy Clarkson's Diddly Squat Farm Shop - Esus Agri Ltd

While his journey has been far from smooth, there are many lessons farmers can learn from Jeremy Clarkson’s series, particularly when it comes to farm diversification. The show serves as a stark reminder of the uncertain future that many British farmers face with increasing financial pressures and the need to explore multiple revenue streams such as the Diddly Squat farm shop. With an estimate of 33% of agricultural businesses already diversifying in one way or another, it is becoming a necessity that farmers cannot ignore. However, as the show highlights, it is crucial to ensure you do your due diligence, check whether planning permission is required and seek some professional guidance.


Farming business consultancy, advice and grant support

Here at Esus Agri Ltd, we have been helping farmers thrive since 1995. We have worked with farms from 40 ha to 100,000 ha, delivering truly sustainable solutions that drive real results. To find out how we can support you with farm diversification, business management advice and step-by-step grants applications, contact us today!



Robots in Agriculture: The Future of Robotic Farming

Robots in Agriculture - Esus Agri Ltd

There are many reasons farmers are increasingly adopting agricultural robots. From increasing labour shortages and costs to a rise in demand for higher food production, the current conditions present a great a great opportunity for the increase in use of robots in agriculture. In this article, we explore the future of robotic farming and opportunities UK farmers cannot afford to miss.

What are agricultural robots?


Agricultural robotics refers to machinery that is capable of carrying out a series of automated tasks and is deployed for agricultural purposes. Thanks to innovations in tech in recent years, agricultural robotics can bring automation, efficiency and precision when it comes to undertaking various tasks from oil sampling and weed control to planting seeds and harvesting.


What are agricultural robots used for?


Robots in agriculture can bring efficiency and cost savings to any task, big or small. From simple repetitive simple tasks to complex tasks, robots can be the perfect solution.


Below are some examples of existing agricultural robotics:

  • Fruit picking robots
  • Autonomous tractors
  • Driverless sprayers
  • Sheep shearing robots
  • Weeding robots
  • Seed planting drones
  • Ariel imagery drones
  • Soil sampling robots


Benefits of robots in agriculture



Agricultural drone on farmland - Esus Agri Ltd



There are many advantages to adopting robots in agriculture. Unlike humans, robots can carry out tasks much quicker and without the need for breaks in between. This allows farmers to cut down costs and be more efficient. Also farmers have fallen victim to labour shortages caused by a decrease in seasonal farmworkers, but the use of robotics can combat this and reduce their reliance on and costs of labour.

Below are a few more benefits of leveraging agricultural robotics:


  • Increased profitability


  • Increased accuracy


  • Waste reduction


  • Cost-effectiveness



The future of agricultural robotics:

Agricultural drone on farmland - Esus Agri Ltd

The first development of agricultural robots dates back to the 1920s and it’s fair to say this technology has come a long way since. According to research, the agricultural robotics market is expected to reach $11.58 billion by 2025 and is expected to see further growth in the coming decade. This means farmers can expect to see an increase in new developments coming to the surface to help them improve efficiency and profitability. It is predicted that such future developments when it comes to robots in agriculture will particularly involve self-driving cars.


Before you go…

Esus Agri Ltd has been helping farmers thrive since 1995. We have worked with farms from 40 ha to 100,000 ha, delivering sustainable solutions to enable the owners to achieve their goals. To find out how we can support you with farm business advice and step-by-step grants applications, get in touch today.


Farm Diversification – Ideas, Examples And Grants

Farm diversification (farm shop) - Esus Agri Ltd

While farm diversification has been around for a long time, it has recently come into sharp focus for many farmers as financial pressures and uncertainty grows. There’s never been a more perfect time to explore options and opportunities surrounding farm diversification. Whether it’s exploring new strategies such as starting a farm shop or cultivating existing options, there are many farm diversification ideas to uncover.

What is Farm Diversification


Farm diversification refers to efforts to boost income, spread risk and ensure farms are operating sustainably. It involves branching out from traditional farming and expanding to new income-generating activities. Many farmers are turning to diversification and exploring their options in order to diversify their income streams and be better equipped for an uncertain future.


Why Farmers Are Turning to Diversification


It goes without saying that UK farmers face an uncertain future following financial pressures and growing uncertainty in recent years. From policy changes and climate-related changes to changing consumer demands and profitability concerns, this has inevitably led to the necessity of diversification.


Farm Diversification Ideas & Examples



Farmer holding a tray of local produce - Esus Agri Ltd



There are lots of options to explore when it comes to diversification. Here are our top 5 farm diversification ideas and examples you can choose from:



  1. Set up a farm shop

Setting up a local shop like Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat shop and selling your produce can be a great way to diversify. According to a report by Harper Adams University, Farm shops alone generate a massive £1.4 billion in sales nationally while employing 25,000 workers. Not to mention overheads to get things started can be significantly less than other farm diversification ideas.



  1. Open a farm restaurant

Farm restaurants that serve local, seasonal produce are becoming increasingly popular as consumers are beginning to take more interest in where their food comes from and the impact this has on the environment. This makes this a potentially lucrative option for farmers looking to diversify.



  1. Explore agritourism options

Agrotourism is another farm diversification idea with a lot of potential. It offers a number of options including opening a bed and breakfast, offering farm tours, workshop and classes and creating camping or glamping accommodations.



  1. Experiment with new off shoots

Farm businesses can also explore opportunities with new profitable crops or livestock they haven’t yet ventured into. With changing consumer demands, broadening your offering by utilising one of our farm diversification ideas is a great way to help you future-proof your business.



  1. Hire or rent out your space

Renting out your space or hiring out your barn(s) for events, conferences and weddings can be a great way to diversify. Barn weddings in particular are increasingly gaining popularity, with a fifth of all couples opting to host their wedding at a barn or farm, making this a great route to explore.



Farm Diversification Grants


Glamping pods on a farm - Esus Agi Ltd

There are currently various farm diversification grants available for farming businesses. Our team of agricultural consultants are available to support you with advice and application processes. Below are two grants farm diversification grants available:


  • Farming Investment Fund

The Farming Investment Fund (FIF) provides grants to improve the productivity of farms and bring environmental benefits.

FIF is made up of 2 separate funds:

  1. Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (for grants between £2,000 and £25,000) Currently open closes on January 7, 2021. This smaller grant will be offered with the aim of boosting the performance of businesses. It gives farmers access to equipment that can increase productivity and reduce costs.
  2. Farming Transformation Fund (for grants between £35,000 and £500,000) This will aid the largest investments. These grants could be used for projects involving reservoirs and sustainable water storage, more environmentally friendly agricultural equipment, and robotic technology.


  • Farm Equipment and Technology Fund

The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF) provides support to farming businesses so that they can invest in equipment and technology to improve sustainable agricultural, horticultural, and forestry productivity.

The grants are for a minimum of £2,000 and a maximum of £25,000, a fixed amount for each item as set out in the details.

Items include:

  1. Feed pushing robots
  2. Direct drills
  3. Slurry dribble bars and trailing shoes
  4. Cattle crushes
  5. Cattle handling systems


Esus Agri Ltd have maintained a 100% success rate in getting their clients the grant they requested, including FIF and FETC grants. View all farm diversification grants and other funding options available here.


How Esus Agri Ltd Can Help You With Farm Diversification



Esus Agri Ltd has been helping farmers thrive since 1995. We have worked with farms from 40 ha to 100,000 ha, delivering sustainable solutions to enable the owners to achieve their goals. To learn more about farm diversification and discover how ESUS Agri Ltd can help you implement the best farm diversification options for your farm business, get in touch today.

North Devon Farmer Builds Own Bale Feeder For Outwintered Cattle

North Devon Farmer Developing His Own Bale Unroller

Concerned with the costs of in-wintering his Ruby Red Devon Cattle, North Devon Farmer, Richard Stanbury has designed and built his own big bale feeder so that he can use the American System of Bale Grazing to keep his cattle healthy and well-fed whilst wintering outside on grass, whilst improving soil structure and fertility. This is all part of Richard’s journey down the Regenerative Agriculture route, to improve the profitability and sustainability of the farm for the four generations living on it.

In the attached video, we look at the feeder in action and discuss the pros and cons of the feeder and the system


RPA announces the latest round of the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund

Farming Equipment and Technology Fund

About this time of year, the RPA announces the latest round of the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund. The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF) provides support to farming businesses so that they can invest in equipment and technology to improve sustainable agricultural, horticultural, and forestry productivity.

The grants are for a minimum of £2,000 and a maximum of £25,000, a fixed amount for each item as set out in the details.

Items include:

  • Feed pushing robots
  • Direct drills
  • Slurry dribble bars and trailing shoes
  • Cattle crushes
  • Cattle handling systems

For a list of all the available options and application details please send us an email with FETF in the subject line, send us a message, or call us on 01398 392011