Farmers in North Yorkshire have applied to convert four sheds into business units to make up for a loss of income due to the end of European Union subsidies.

Hesper Farm in Bell Busk, near Gargrave, is a 320-acre traditional dairy farm run by the Moorhouse family where cows are milked twice a day.

Under plans published by North Yorkshire Council this week, some sheds at the farm could be converted create a new revenue stream and diversify the farming operation.

The farm previously diversified to create Icelandic-style yoghurt in the 2010s but this part of the business ceased trading last year due to increased costs.

The Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is the largest of the EU’s rural grants and payments to help the farming industry under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

However, BPS payments to farmers in England have been reducing each year since 2021 and they will stop at the end of this year, although the UK government will still pay farmers through a new payment system until 2027.

According to documents submitted to the council, the end of the BPS means Hesper Farm will lose a “dependent and consistent” revenue stream.

It said the payments have helped the farm through periods of poor weather that can result in crop loss and high costs for feed and bedding.

So to ensure the farm remains viable, the amount of livestock will be reduced in order to reduce running costs so they are less reliant on buying feed during the winter months.

The site is at risk of flooding and a report has recommended that the office, toilet and kitchen areas in the business units are raised by 150mm above the existing floor level.

Planning documents added: “The proposal will reuse existing buildings to from four small business lets as part of a farm diversification and will provide new employment opportunities in the area as well as diversifying the range of business premises available in the area. The proposal accords with policy in the Craven Local Plan”

North Yorkshire Council will make a decision on the application at a later date.