Purchasing produce and supporting smallholdings has become increasingly popular to many, with people wanting to know where their food has come from. And it has become even more popular during the Coronavirus pandemic, as the public look to support the local community and independent businesses during these difficult times*.
Running a small rural business or smallholding effectively and efficiently can be demanding. Finding the perfect balance between the time and effort it takes to maintain a successful smallholding and the need to generate an income can be challenging.
The below offers just a few tips to help guide you to running a successful smallholding.
- Learn the basics – if you are thinking about setting up a smallholding or small rural business and are new to it, there are a huge range of short courses available in the UK to help you learn the basics, from sheep shearing to cider making. There are many niche areas you can choose from to focus on.
- Understand what you want to achieve – whether your smallholding is a new venture or you have been set up for a number of years, it is important to know what you want to achieve out of your business before you get overwhelmed with the workload. It would be a good idea to set objectives for your business, within a timeframe if you can. This will help you develop your business over a period of time and have set aims to focus on.
- Time management – owning a smallholding is hard work! Consider how much time you will need to maintain everything. If you do have a full-time job, you will be limited to evenings and weekends. It is important to have a list of jobs, prioritising the most important. Remember that if you have livestock, you will need to ensure they have plenty of food and water for the day, if the weather is warm, your crops will need watering and fertilising, and if you have a holiday cottage you will need to ensure you are managing the upkeep.
- Be prepared for obstacles! – When it comes to owning farm animals and preparing food for the public, there are many considerations. You will need to ensure that you are registered with DEFRA and get a County Parish Holding Number before owning any farm animals.** If you also grow food on your land, it is also important that you have managed the unwanted pests and maintain good hygiene when handling food for the public.
- Have the right insurance in place – as well as the tips above, having the right insurance in place can protect you against issues that may arise when running a small rural business. We are excited to share that we have recently added Rural Protect Elements to our farm insurance offering, alongside Rural Protect. Similar to Rural Protect, Rural Protect Elements is a bespoke management liability product designed to meet the needs of smaller rural businesses. Whilst the product still offers a high level of support, it avoids you paying for cover you may not need.
Rural Protect Elements supports smaller businesses facing challenges from regulatory bodies, administrative and legal issues, whether a limited company, partnership or sole trader. There are so many regulations within the rural sector and farming businesses must work responsibly to meet these standards. To assist with this, Rural Protect Elements gives you free access to leading law firm – rradar, providing support and in-depth legal assistance with access to digital tools to educate, manage and advise farmers to help reduce legal risks. As a client, you will also have access to rradarstation, where you can speak to expert legal advisors over the phone or via email, as well as an online service offering guidance on running a rural business.
Rural Protect Elements covers businesses with a turnover of less than £50,000, however if your business turns over more than this then we would recommend Rural Protect.
With cover starting from £150 per annum, Rural Protect Elements provides you with day-to-day assistance, helping prevent issues and providing cover should the worst happen.
If you feel like Rural Protect Elements would benefit your small rural business or smallholding, contact McClarrons’ Farm Team on 01653 609152 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.