Top tips: Get a foot on the farming ladder
As the industry changes and develops, it isn’t always easy to see a way in to agriculture. Here, Philip Jenkinson tells us some tips on how to enter farming.
Top tips: How to get in to farming #StartFarming
Farming has recently been in the midst of huge change, and if you’re a young farmer or new entrant looking to enter the industry it could appear to be a daunting process.
Below are tips to help you overcome some of those obstacles, and ways to put yourself out there in order to start successfully.
- Work hard, be keen, and be eager to learn. It is important you are an experienced expert in your chosen field, plus, once you get your own business, time off will be limited and you need to show you are committed and happy to make sacrifices as such.
- Save hard and make considered investments. When any opportunity arises it is important you have as much as possible to take to it. This might be in the form of cash, livestock or property you could be able to borrow against. For example, a budding dairy farmer might look to establish a herd of heifers which could be milked, hired out within another herd, or sold.
- Speak to people from across the industry. Attend industry events, speak to land agents, consultants, farmers you know might be looking to retire, county councils. Anybody you think might be able to offer you an opportunity. People are usually happy to talk to you and take your details. It might seem like you are flogging a dead horse sometimes but you never know what it might lead to further down the line.
On the lookout
- Look hard, never let up. Constantly read the farming press, the web and social media. If you want to do this it is important you are aware of any tenancies/contract farms/share farms/opportunities which are available in the market place. Even if they seem out of reach do not be put off by scale and pub talk. Ring up, get the details and lodge your interest, again, you never know what it might lead to.
- Think outside the box. The traditional path into farming is of course through the tenanted sector, perhaps via county councils through to the private sector and beyond. However, times are changing. Tenancies generally require large lumps of capital in the first instance. Options such as share farming/milking are beginning to become more prevalent and can provide a less capital intensive way of getting your foot on the farming ladder. Some employers may even give you the option of having a share of the profit to incentivise you and also to help you to build your own assets.
- Do not be too hasty. If you decide to go for a business opportunity make sure you plan very carefully. Draw up a business plan, know exactly what it is going to be worth for you. Do not rush into the wrong agreement. If you can not make it stack up don’t worry, walk away and be ready to use your experience for the next opportunity.
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