“Having multiple streams of income is how we manage risk. The key is finding what fits within your enterprise and your lifestyle and can generate you a bit more income.”
— Rob Egerton-Warburton in SANTFA

Farm diversity

Farm diversification refers to the action whereby the business branches out of its existing enterprise. This new venture may replace or coexist with the current production. 

DEPI VIC have produced a guide to help new landholders make decisions about diversifying their property.

The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have produced a similar guide.

Farm Diversity is a website developed by RIRDC.

" is the first step in exploring something new for your farm. This initiative of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation allows you to search crop and animal production enterprise alternatives by type or location to discover which may be best suited to your farm."

You can search for plants or animals by your postcode or search for a specific plant or animal  — the search tool represents "is the first step in investigating what might be possible on your farm and where possible a range of resources and links have been provided to assist you to continue your investigation into a particular crop or animal."

If we want real growth we need to seek real solutions, whether by improving market access or expanding business avenues. What this website can do is present some real opportunities for those farmers wanting to grow their business and see some real returns to their farmgate.
— Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce


Farm diversification, however, does not necessarily mean venturing into an entirely new enterprise. It can mean integrated or mixed farming — integrated a sheep enterprise with a cropping enterprise, or simply different crop varieties.

As noted by Local Land Services, "Mixed farming is the term that applies to many producers who have diversified their farming across cropping and livestock production.  A portion of their farm will be under crop every year and also in a pasture phase where the livestock can be run.

A dairy farm growing quantities of fodder crops and dual purpose crops can also be considered a mixed farm.

Land-holders can dramatically reduce the risked effect of events such as drought and frost by diversifying their farming. Mixed farming can also act as a buffer from global market changes.

Some of the challenges that mixed farmers face include adopting new genetics and varieties, managing pests and diseases, improving animal health and using production systems that preserve and improve natural resources." (NSW Government, Local Land Services)

“Successful farming requires decision-making about complex matters. Mixed farming adds another layer of complexity to the decision making process because there is more than one enterprise.”

It's not for everyone, but check out some analysis and stories of diversification below.