A guide to farming’s national open day — Open Farm Sunday

A guide to farming’s national open day — Open Farm Sunday

Farming and agriculture West Country Life

Smallholder or farmer in the West Country looking to raise the profile of what you do and share your farming story? Every year hundreds of farmers across Great Britain break their usual routine to open their gates to the public as part of Open Farm Sunday.

What is ‘Open Farm Sunday’ we hear you ask?

Here’s a handy guide to one of the industry’s ‘biggest success stories’…

About farming’s biggest public event

Open Farm Sunday was set up by LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) over ten years ago as part of an initiative to build a better public understanding of food and farming.

Since the first open day was held in 2006, millions of people have visited farms across Great Britain.

This year marks its 11th event, when farmers will once again open their gates to the public for one day only, giving them a unique glimpse of life on a farm.

When is it?

This year’s Open Farm event takes place on Sunday, 5th June 2016.

Last year, more than 250,000 people visited 389 farms and LEAF is attempting to top this by incorporating a theme, which will be ‘Discover the World of Farming’, encouraging all types of farms to get involved.

Why should you take part?

Whether you run a smallholding producing fruit and veg or a large dairy farm, the event is open to all types of farming.

By opening your gates to the public, you’re helping people have a better understanding of the industry and hard work that goes into it.

Not only that, it’s a great form of promotion, especially if you plan to sell any of your homemade products!

If you’re looking at buying a farm or smallholding in the West Country, why not go along to an event to see how you could take part in the future?

Some 200 farms and smallholdings have already registered this year, with a large number of these in the West Country.

How do I get involved?

You can decide whether to host an invite-only event or open your farm up to the public. Registration is free and there’s still time to take part this June.

For more information about registering follow this link https://farmsunday.org/

Ideas for things to do on your farm

According to LEAF, one in five visitors to Open Farm Sunday have never visited a farm, so what might seem like the ‘norm’ to you, will be a completely different experience for those who visit your farm.

Whether it’s a small-scale invite-only event or a larger open day, here are a few things you could do on your Open Farm Sunday:

Tours — Take visitors on a walking tour of your smallholding or farm; not only does this allow them to see it, it also gives you peace of mind that they are familiar with the areas they can explore, and don’t go wandering off!

Demonstrations — Demonstrations such as milking, shearing, harvesting, or crop production are great ways of showing your farm in action.

Workshops — Nearby farmers also attend Open Farm Sundays so why not invite local experts to hold workshops. Consider teaming up with your vet to arrange a demonstration/workshop.

Talks — Holding talks during slots throughout the day allows you to allocate time elsewhere and ensures visitors know what’s happening and when.

Machinery displays — Machinery dealers are often looking for the chance to showcase their latest range. Not only does it provide good promotion for them, it gives visitors an insight into equipment and tools used on your smallholding/farm.

Further information

Free resources and more information are available from the Open Farm Sunday website.

If you’re searching for your own smallholding or farm in Devon or Cornwall, get in touch with West Country Dream on 07816 514667 or visit our contact page.

5 reasons why farming in the West Country is amongst the best places in the UK

5 reasons why farming in the West Country is amongst the best places in the UK

Farming and agriculture West Country Life

Making your first steps in the farming world, but unsure whereabouts in the UK you should settle?

Whether you’re looking to keep a small flock of sheep on a smallholding or start up a dairy herd on a larger farm, begin and end your search in the West Country — one of the best places in the UK!

What makes the West Country one of the best we hear you ask?

Here at West Country Dream we have the answers!

Mild climate

If you’re planning to keep livestock and cultivate crops, you’ll want land that is dry for most of the year around (well as much as that is possible in our temperate climate!).

Being so close to the sea, the South West has the highest average temperature of any other area located near the sea. As a result, the chances of snow during winter months are very low, which is great news if you plan to keep livestock outside for most of the year around.

The West Country’s warm summers also mean crops can be harvested as late as October, while the ground is still dry.

Tourism opportunities

The West Country is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK, with more than 34 million visits made over the last year.

This is not only beneficial to those who have, or are looking to diversify into tourist accommodation. Setting up a smallholding with plans to sell your own produce via a farm shop? You’ll also benefit from the mass influx of tourists during the summer months.

Land prices

More and more people want their very own slice of the countryside and this has seen the value of farmland rise remarkably over the last ten years, but things are on the change….

The price of livestock and arable land in the West Country remains competitive, but still cheaper than other areas of the UK, including the bordering regions of the West Midlands and South East.

Land experts are also predicting prices will stabilise over the next year so now could be the opportune time to start looking for your very own West Country dream!

Low crime rates

No matter where you choose to live you’ll want to be at ease knowing you and your family are in a safe environment so you’ll be pleased to hear that according to Government statistics crime levels in the South West are amongst the lowest in England!

Award winning beaches

At the end of a busy day on the farm, why not escape to some of the UK’s top rated beaches? The West Country is home to Devon and Cornwall’s many award-winning beaches, as highly recommended by Trip Advisor and National Geographic. These include Carne Beach near Truro (National Geographic), Woolacombe Beach, North Devon (Trip Advisor), Porthminster Beach near St Ives and the well-known Fistral Beach in Newquay.

If you’re looking for a balanced quality of life, the West Country is the place to be.

Find your West Country Dream

Want your very own slice of the West Country? Let us do the searching for your perfect farm or smallholding, while you spend your time exploring the beautiful beaches nearby.

Visit our services page or give Helen a call on 07816 514667.

Right to roam on a smallholding or farm

Right to roam on a smallholding or farm

Buying property with land Farming and agriculture

With more than 6,000 miles worth of public footpaths stretching across Devon and Cornwall, if you’re looking at buying a smallholding or farm you’ll need to be aware of any rights to roam on your land and what it means for you.

We take a look at all you need to know about public access on your smallholding or farm……

What are public rights of way?

Public rights of way legally permit anyone to access land via designated paths.

The two main types of paths that could affect you as a landowner are:

1. Public footpaths: only open to walkers.
2. Public bridleways: open to walkers, horse-riders and cyclists.

How are they outlined?

Public footpaths can be marked differently depending on the whereabouts of the farm or smallholding.

The most common form is a white or yellow arrow with a green background pointing in the direction of the path. It will also state clearly whether it’s a footpath or bridleway.

These signs are at all footpath junctions and are maintained by the local Highway authority.

If routes are difficult to follow, waymarks may also be used. These arrows may differ in colour under the system recommended by Natural England and the Countryside Council for Wales.

Who is responsible?

The majority of footpaths and bridleways in England and Wales are maintained by the local authority and its Highways department. If your smallholding or farm has a public route you will also be responsible for some elements, which we explain below.

Your responsibilities

Although much of the responsibility lies with the local authority, as a landowner there are some areas you will be accountable for.

These include:

Keeping routes clear — All footpaths must be free from obstructions such as padlocked gates, fences, hedges, and wire mesh. Remember paths can be open to both walkers and horse-riders so ensure vegetation does not impinge on the routes.

Field-edge paths — Any cultivation must be at least 1.5 metres away from a field edge path and 3 metres for a field edge bridleway.

Cross-field paths — Although the Government advises not cultivating land with cross-field paths, it does allow it, providing the path surface is restored 14 days after crop cultivation or within 24 hours for subsequent cultivation. Visit the Government website for full details https://www.gov.uk/guidance/public-rights-of-way-landowner-responsibilities

Stiles/gates — Must be maintained if they’re on your land. Some of this cost can be claimed back from the local authority.

Crop sraying — Use approved pesticides if spraying crops in a field that has a public right of way.

Additional signage

If paths need to be marked clearer, the Government permits you to install additional waymarks (which can help to avoid people accidentally wondering through all of your land). Signs should also be put up to warn the public of any potential dangers such as slurry pits or animals.

NB: Signs that are misleading to the public can be removed by local authorities.

Livestock in fields with footpaths

If you’re considering buying a smallholding or farm bear in mind the law states certain types of dairy bulls over 10 months old are forbidden from fields with public rights of way.

All other types of breed are allowed as long as they are accompanied by cows or heifers.

Walkers’ rights to roam

Farmers and smallholders are protected by certain laws, which apply to walkers and their dogs.

If walking through a field with cattle, dogs must be kept on a lead that is no longer than 2 metres, at all times. This also applies from March 1 and July 31 to protect ground-nesting birds.

Does the farm/smallholding have any public rights of way?

Avoid any surprise visits from the public by checking if there are rights to roam on the land before purchasing a smallholding or farm. This is something we can do for you when searching for your ideal property.

You can also check this with your local authority, which will have a map showing the routes.

Rights of way in Devon can be found here: http://www.devon.gov.uk/index/environmentplanning/public_rights_of_way.htm

Click here to see the rights of way in Cornwall: https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/environment-and-planning/countryside/public-rights-of-way/public-rights-of-way-interactive-mapping/

Looking at moving to Devon or Cornwall, to buy a farm or property with land, get in touch with West Country Dream, on 07816 514667 or visit our contact page.

Five types of crop suitable for growing on a smallholding

Five types of crop suitable for growing on a smallholding

Farming and agriculture

Some of the West County’s most profitable businesses started off by growing crops on a smallholding. So what can you grow in the West Country? We’ve taken a look at just five of the many types of crop suitable for smallholdings.

Fruit and veg

As obvious as it may seem, some of the most successful farm shops stemmed from growing fruit and vegetables on their land.

From strawberries to runner beans, pumpkins to potatoes, the demand for organic fruit and vegetables is on the rise. Last year the Soil Association reported an increase of 4% in the number of organic product sales.

Whether it’s delivered in a vegetable box to their door, or by wandering through the local farm shop, there will certainly be a demand.

Herbs

Herbs can be great for adding flavour to food and some even boast medicinal powers! What most may not know is that some of the most popular such as basil, mints, coriander and dill are relatively easy to grow.

With so many types of annuals, biennials and perennials, there is plenty of scope to find the perfect plants suited to your smallholding!

Flowers

Looking to put your green fingers to work in the flower world? The West Country’s milder temperatures, especially in Cornwall, allow blooms to be grown successfully throughout the year.

From cut to dried flowers, bulbs to bushes, there is a range of seasonal types for all kinds of customers. Consider supplying local / national florists, garden centres and even showcase them at local markets and agricultural / horticultural shows.

You could potentially create a great source of income; being a speciality crop it allows smallholders to reap high-value rewards for their products.

Trees / plants

Trees and plants are a great way of reducing CO2 and can be a profitable earner for smallholders.

Willow and bamboo are commonly used in natural wicker products, such as furniture and baskets. Bamboo in particular, is fast becoming a new ‘super material’ and is now used in large-scale timber developments.

Trees such as firs, pines and spruces are great for smallholdings running seasonal businesses like Christmas tree farms.

Whether you have 2 acres or 20, there is an array of different sized species appropriate for your land.

Mushrooms

If you have shady areas on your smallholding, why not consider growing mushrooms?

According to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the mushroom sector contributes to 4% of the annual horticulture income, which means there’s plenty of room for growth.

Common types grown in the UK include shiitakes (found in shady areas) and oyster mushrooms, which can be can be grown on straw. But the list is pretty much endless, with more exotic mushrooms being grown locally than ever before!

What next?

Setting up a smallholding from scratch with little or no agricultural experience can be a daunting prospect, but that’s why West Country Dream is here to help you along the way.

If you’re looking to take your first steps we can help you with an introduction into being a smallholder with our range of courses and workshops. Give us a call on 07816 514667 or visit our courses page.

Mortgage advice for buying a smallholding or farm

Mortgage advice for buying a smallholding or farm

Buying property with land Farming and agriculture

Considering buying a smallholding or farm? Whether you’re already searching, or about to start looking for your West Country Dream, you’ll need to be fully clued up on the type of mortgages available to you.

We take a look at some key points to bear in mind when seeking your perfect West Country property.

Is there an agricultural tie?

If you’re looking for a farm or smallholding, be aware that it may have an agricultural tie, which can limit the number of lenders available to you.

Agricultural ties, also referred to as Agricultural Restrictions, are sometimes applied to agricultural properties that have been built on a farm/smallholding where development would not usually be allowed.

This means it will have conditions that have to be met in order to live or buy that property. The most common rule is that the house ‘must be occupied by someone who is, or was previously employed, in the locality in agriculture’.

As a result, there tend to be fewer lenders who are willing to mortgage properties that have agricultural ties.

However, properties with ties tend to be much cheaper than those without, so if you don’t have a connection to agriculture you can apply to remove it or rent it out to someone who does!

Farm / commercial mortgage

Many mainstream mortgage lenders will often ask how much land is with the property. If it’s over a certain amount of acreage, you may need to find a specialist mortgage advisor.

A smallholding is usually defined as between two and 20 acres, with anything over this size classed as a farm. If you’re looking for a smallholding with minimal acreage for hobby farming, you could still be entitled to a commercial mortgage.

Using a lender that specialises in agriculture can be advantageous because they will have more knowledge of the industry. Make sure you shop around and talk to a variety of lenders to find a mortgage most suited to you.

Have a business plan

Planning to start up your own farm? Whether you want to keep a flock of sheep or a dairy herd, ensure you have a thorough business plan.

A business plan not only helps you to have a clear picture of what you want to achieve from your farm and how you will attain it, it is also essential to securing a mortgage.

Lenders often require evidence as reassurance you will be able to make the mortgage payments so what better way of showing them than by having a detailed business plan!

Do your research

Whether you’re buying a smallholding to keep a handful of sheep or starting up a dairy farm, do your research to find the most suitable mortgage lender.

The extra time invested initially could save you thousands later down the line.

Searching for a smallholding or farm?

We can help find your perfect property in the West Country, simply give us a call via our contact page or take a look at our land and property services.

Five things to take into account when buying land suitable for cattle

Five things to take into account when buying land suitable for cattle

Buying property with land Farming and agriculture

Planning a ‘mooove’ to the West Country and looking to keep cattle on a smallholding or farm? If so, we’ve highlighted five key things you should bear in mind when it comes to buying land suitable for cattle…

Purpose

Whether you intend to keep cattle for showing success or supplying milk to the dairy industry, knowing why you want to keep cattle forms the basis of any decision surrounding the purchase of land.

The purpose will help you to establish how much land you need, how many sheds and if you require extra space to cater for future growth. For example, do you vision producing and selling your own dairy or meat products?

If the answer’s yes, then you’ll need to take into account additional space for equipment, such as a creamery, and a suitable location that has good public access for when it comes to selling your products.

Size of farm

Planning to keep a few bullocks to maintain grass, or a medium-sized herd for milk production? Knowing how many cows you want (and need to give you revenue) is essential to determining the number of acres and sheds you’ll need and the price you’ll pay.

Looking to start off with a smallholding? An 18-acre farm with five-bed bungalow and outbuildings in the heart of the Tamar Valley, an Area of Natural Beauty bordering Devon and Cornwall, will cost just under £500,000 (click here to see property); great value if you’re looking for space for your family and a few cows!

Meanwhile, if you’re aiming to set up a large-scale dairy or beef farm, a five-bed house with 100+ acres will be into seven figures.

NB: Bear in mind the rule-of-thumb, which states around 1.5 to 2 acres is needed to feed two cows!

Type of acreage

No matter if your farm or smallholding is 50 acres or 100 acres, you’ll want the best pasture for your cattle to graze on or for crops to grow their winter food on.

The type of land you buy will affect the output and quality of your cattle; you’ll be pleased to know the soil types across the South West are suited to the vast majority of cattle breeds.

If you want more information about soil types, check out the Soilscapes viewer as supported by Defra: http://www.landis.org.uk/soilscapes/

Housing

Keeping cattle is a full-time commitment, so when it comes to buying a farm or smallholding you’ll want somewhere you can keep stock all year around.

Fortunately, the South West’s mild climate means cattle can be grazed outside for the large majority of the year, but you’ll need housing for those winter months, especially if you plan to keep dairy cows.

A smallholding with sheds will be hugely beneficial, but have no fear if there aren’t any because there are other options. For example, is there space available and the possibility to gain planning permission for the housing of livestock? This is another route many farmers take to cater for their cows.

The future

What does the future hold for you? Already thinking about owning a large dairy herd, growing your own crops and installing revolutionary equipment to cater for a bigger output? Whether you’re looking for a smallholding or farm, always consider your next steps to save you having to uproot and restart your dream elsewhere.

Looking at moving to Devon or Cornwall, to buy a farm or property with land, get in touch with West Country Dream, on 07816 514667 or visit our contact page.

New year, new start in the West Country?

New year, new start in the West Country?

Buying property with land West Country Life West Country Properties

Whether you’re considering buying a farm or a smallholding, a common question that frequently crops up is ‘when is the best time to invest’?

With a new year, often comes a new start and here at West Country Dream we’ve been taking a look at why 2016 is the best time to invest in property in Devon and Cornwall.

Stamp duty tax on second homes

Looking at buying a smallholding or farm in the South West, but don’t want to part from your beloved home in the city?

Time is of the essence if you want to buy a second home or buy-to-let property without paying additional Stamp Duty taxes.

Last November the Government announced a new 3% surcharge will apply to each stamp duty band on any additional properties costing more than £40,000. The new rate comes into effect from April and will impact all second home or buy-to-let properties.

Therefore, if you’re considering buying a farm or smallholding this year, as the adage goes; there’s no time like the present, so buy now to save yourself thousands of pounds on extra taxes!

Take a look at the table below for a full break down on the tax rate increase:

Property value

Standard rate

Second home rate (April 2016)

Up to £125,000

0%

3%

£125 – £250,000

2%

5%

£250,000 – £925,000

5%

8%

£925,000 to £1.5m

10%

13%

Over £1.5m

12%

15%

Land prices

Over the years more and more people have realised the benefits of owning a farm or smallholding. From leading a healthier lifestyle to being your own boss, the hike in farm purchases has been reflected in the price of land, which has been climbing since 2005.

In particular, farmland has increased dramatically over the last five years, with figures showing a 52.8% surge in the price per acre from 2010 to 2015! The increase has been good news for people who own land, doubling or in some cases tripling the value of their farms, but it has meant higher prices for those looking to buy.

However, there are signs that prices will begin to stabilise over the next year, making it a prime time to buy that perfect property in the West Country!

Swap that city house for a smallholding in the country

Always dreamed of a fresh start in the country, where your children can play outdoors freely in the security of your own large garden? If the answer is yes, now’s the time to swap that city house for a safe-haven in the West Country.

If there’s one region where prices are guaranteed to increase, it’s London, and if you’re raising a family in the city, the chances are they will struggle to get on the property ladder. Extend your search to the South West and you increase the selection of properties available for the same amount in the city.

For a three bedroom terraced property on the outskirts of London priced at £600,000, you can buy a six bedroom detached property with five acres of land, outbuildings and stunning views in the heart of West Devon.

Looking for a view of the sea? A four-bedroom house on the seafront at Rock in Cornwall will easily set you back in excess of £2 million, but expand your search to just 13 miles up the coast to Tintagel and you could snap up a six bedroom house with outbuildings for less than £500,000!

We can help you find your West Country Dream!

Wanting to take that leap from city life to live a more laid-back lifestyle in the countryside or start-up a smallholding?

Now is the time to sit down and consider where you want to live, what type of property you want, what you want it for and more importantly, how much do you have to spend?

Having difficulty finding time to plan? Let West Country Dream do it for you. Get in touch with West Country Dream on 07816 514667 or visit our contact page.

Six key things to consider when keeping sheep

Six key things to consider when keeping sheep

Farming and agriculture

Are you planning to keep sheep on a smallholding or farm in the West Country? If so, there’s a few things to consider when it comes to buying land suitable for your woolly friends….

Purpose

Whether you plan to keep sheep for lamb meat, wool for weaving or to show at local and even national events, knowing the reason and purpose for keeping sheep is essential when it comes to buying the right smallholding or farm.

It’ll determine the amount of land you require along with any sheds and space for additional equipment or housing. Planning on selling your own meat onsite? You’ll also need to consider extra buildings, facilities and public access for a farm shop and of course, in terms of locality, where nearby butchers are based to keep those food miles down.

Housing

One of the biggest factors to consider when buying a farm or smallholding is where to keep the sheep during winter months or extreme weather conditions?

A smallholding or farm with sheds will be a huge advantage, but don’t be afraid to think outside of the box here; is there land or potential planning permission to develop the land you’re buying? If it’s not already in place what are the chances of getting it, and how much will it cost to develop?

NB: The amount of space needed depends on the type and size of your sheep; latest Government requirements can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/sheep-and-goat-welfare

Type of land

The type of land you purchase will have an impact on the sort of stock you’ll be able to keep, and visa versa. Whilst some hardy sheep will be happy to graze on the hills of Dartmoor and Exmoor, others will be better suited to flatter, more sheltered pastures.

You’ve already got an idea of what you’re going to be using the sheep for, make sure that your selection of breed and land allow you to maximising your chances of success.

Pasture size

You know the breed, what you’ll be using them for and what sort of land they’ll be located on, so exactly how much of that land do you need?

This will be linked to your commercial goals; are you looking to hobby farm with just a few sheep giving you a residual income, or to develop into something more intensive and commercial in both size and nature?

The National Sheep Association gives a guideline of approximately six to ten sheep per acre, depending on climate, topography and grass quality.

Soil type

Unfortunately, there is no easy way of buying a farm or smallholding with the perfect soil. Different types of soil all have varying properties, which can affect crop yields, water drainage and nutrients.

The South West is predominately made up of wet clay loam, which is rich in nutrients and can be managed by drainage techniques, subsoiling and rotation, helping to reduce build-up of clay under foot.

There’s plenty of thriving farms and smallholdings of all sizes in the region, so you can be sure we’ve got the soil to support your dream!

The future

A common point from us; whenever you’re looking to buy a farm or smallholding, always consider your future aspirations. Do you see yourself owning a flock of thousands, or so few that they have names? There needs to be growth in your West Country Dream when you want it. Buying a property and land will ensure you’re not moving your dream down the road in just a few years time.

Looking at moving to Devon or Cornwall, to buy a farm or property with land, get in touch with West Country Dream, on 07816 514667 or visit our contact page.

Hotspots for property investment in Devon 2015/2016

Hotspots for property investment in Devon 2015/2016

Buying property with land West Country Life West Country Properties

With Devon officially the best place to live in England [Country Life Magazine] and its population set to rise by two million over the course of the next 10 years, more people than ever are escaping the hustle and bustle of the city for a life in the country.

But with so many great places in Devon, the big question is where should you settle? We’ve taken a look at five popular places for people wanting to relocate to Devon with their family.

Dartmoor and southern Devon

Searching for a secluded smallholding that can still boast easy access to civilisation? Look no further than the rugged and rolling hills of Dartmoor. The national park is at the heart of Devon and boasts some of the most spectacular views and walks in the county.

Quaint towns like Chagford and Moretonhampstead on the northern edge of the park have direct access to the A30 whilst if you look further South, the market town of Buckfastleigh sits beside the A30.

The English Riviera, Torbay

Wanting to escape city life for a farm or smallholding by the sea? The English Riviera includes the coastal towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham.

With beautiful bays and long stretches of sand it’s a popular place with tourists, but patches of land and smallholdings for sale are often popping up in the surrounding villages.

Education plays a huge part of any move with children, so you’ll also be pleased to know the area boasts a strong education system, with nine secondary schools in Torbay and good road and rail links to the university cities of Plymouth and Exeter.

Tamar Valley, West Devon

Not sure whether to plump for Devon or Cornwall? Why not settle somewhere near the border? The Tamar Valley offers the best of both sides, stretching across 24 parishes from Bodmin Moor to Dartmoor along the Devon/Cornwall border.

The valley is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so no clues why people love this part of Devon! No matter how tucked away you are, farms and smallholdings have great access to main trunk roads and larger towns such as Tavistock and Plymouth; ‘Britain’s Ocean City’ is only a short drive away.

Barnstaple, North Devon

Further north is the market town of Barnstaple, a stones throw from some of the region’s finest beaches. You’ll also find Exmoor National Park just a 30-minute journey to the east; giving you plenty of options for things to do with the family!

Alongside the tourist hotspots, farming is a main contributor to the North Devon economy, with smallholdings and farms for sale in many of the surrounding villages.

Okehampton, West Devon

Always wanted to exchange that city home for a place where your children can roam safely outdoors? Known as the ‘walking centre of Devon’, Okehampton is popular with outdoor enthusiasts and also boasts cycle trails and bridleways. It’s even got its own castle!

Planning to commute to work everyday? The town adjoins the A30, providing direct access to the city of Exeter, which is a convenient 30-minute journey by car, as are most other places from Okehampton!

If you’re looking at moving to Devon, whether to find the perfect family home or to buy property with land, get in touch with West Country Dream at www.westcountrydream.com

Top five myths about buying a farm

Top five myths about buying a farm

Farming and agriculture

Farming is at the heart of the West Country and the region is home to more livestock than any other area in the UK.

Living on a farm allows you to live a potentially healthier lifestyle; for those of you who are yet to live and breath the rural lifestyle, we take a look at the top five myths and misconceptions when it comes to buying your own farm.

You have to be from a farming background

Do you really need to be from a farming background to set up a farm?

Having agricultural experience certainly helps, but some of the country’s most successful farmers started out with little or no practical knowledge.

Jim Doherty, known from the BBC series ‘Jimmy’s Farm’, is one of many examples that you don’t need experience to succeed. Jim’s farming career began in 2002 when he established a rare pig breed farm in Kent. For a number of years his progress was followed by the BBC and, today, Jimmy’s Farm has an award-winning restaurant, butterfly house and hosts food festivals throughout the year.

His pigs don’t fly but we think that’s definite proof that you don’t need agricultural experience to buy a farm!

It’s all mud, sweat and tears

Farming is often portrayed to be a backbreaking industry, with little reward. However, the benefits can be huge; latest statistics show the total UK earnings from farming is around £5.3 billion a year!

According to Defra (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs) more than 300,000 are employed by the agriculture sector in England and 62,000 of the total workforce are in South West. If you’re looking for a career in agriculture there are plenty of viable options available to you.

You have to go big to succeed

Buying a large acreage farm doesn’t guarantee your it’s going to be successful.

Some of the most profitable businesses have developed from smallholdings by diversifying into tourism and farm shops.

For example Hallwood Farm Shop based near Petrockstowe is an award winning shop and grows the majority of its vegetables on the farm.
Meanwhile Parkside Farm in Middlesex transformed its mixed dairy and arable farm into one of the UK’s best pick your own businesses and this year went on to become Retail Champion of the Year in the national FARMA awards.

Proof that you don’t need to buy big to become successful!

We can help you find the perfect farm to suit your needs, take a look at services here… http://westcountrydream.co.uk/land-property-search/

It’s bank breaking

Farming can often be misconceived to be ‘bank breaking’, but if you’re looking at taking your first step in the industry, you’ll be pleased to know that land prices remain stable.

If you’re considering a move from the city to the West Country, you’ll be able to get more for your money. Figures show the average semi-detached property in London is fetching more than £500,000; this will go a long way towards your first farm!

It’s a dwindling industry

Farming in the West Country is far from in decline. Alongside tourism, agriculture plays a crucial role in the West Country’s economy, directly contributing more than £1.6 billion a year.

Since 2009 the farming industry has contributed £10 billion to the UK’s economy, which is an increase of £3.1 billion (about 45 per cent) over five years.

Meanwhile, sales of organic farm produce rose by 4% last year so if you’re hoping to grow and sell your own products, now is the time to start!

West Country Dream helps people looking to buy farms and smallholdings achieve their West Country Dream. For more information on how we can help your move become a reality please give Helen a call on 07816 514667.