What is involved in running a smallholding?
The following are some ideas that could help you in running your smallholding and making it a success:
- Having a plan that is realistic in terms of time and money
- Finding a niche market in your area – if you are looking to generate an income, you can’t compete on the basics, it is much better to specialise in high value items
- You need to be fit both physically and mentally as smallholding life can take its toll. It helps living in the country, a sunny dawn can make everything seem just great
- Enjoy! You will have days when you are up to your neck in mud or are freezing cold and wet. It’s all part of the life and the more you embrace it, the easier it is
- Don’t forget your home. It’s all too easy to throw all your time, effort and money into the outside and forget to sort out your own living space. At the end of a hard day, it can be depressing returning home to a half built bathroom
- Invest in good equipment; whether it be a polytunnel, a greenhouse or a cow crush, think about what you really need and buy carefully
- Ask for help; it’s all too easy to soldier on in adversity wondering why it’s all going wrong when asking a neighbour might give you the answer. One year, we had a lot of sheep with foot problems and we couldn’t work out why. Then we asked the local vet who told us the problem was widespread and basically caused by poor weather
- Keep good records; as well as the legal records, keep a note of what you have done. What worked and what didn’t, how any eggs did you get from how many hens. It can help you plan ahead
- Keep learning; there’s always more to learn whether it’s how better to care for your animals or how to keep your vegetables safe from pests. Learn from your mistakes – you will make them.
- Bear your goals in mind and change them as your experience grows. It’s very easy to plan to do too much too quickly and find yourself run ragged
- Be careful with your money; smallholding life can be expensive and it can also be difficult to earn much money. There always bills such as council tax, home insurance, car tax and insurance to pay.
- Plan your work/life balance; most smallholders need to take on jobs to help pay the way, don;t try to do too much if you are working full time
- Take a break; it’s all too easy to find yourself working 65 days a year. Animals don’t know about holidays. You can find farm sitters who can come and stay while you are away. And you will need time away.
This Smallholding Life
In our book “This Smallholding life”, Adrian draws from personal experience to take you through the highs and lows of life on a smallholding, and how small or quick decisions can have a major impact on your life. From the depths of losing a cherished animal to the highs of making your first sale, this book takes you on a fascinating journey. A real insight into smallholding life.
It describes many of the challenges you will face – physical, mental and financial. This book offers guidance on what is really involved and what you need to think about when moving into this life. It will inspire you to take the plunge, but with your eyes open.
In this book, Adrian will show you how a bit of planning can go a long way, how the key to this life is finding the right balance for you and how this smallholding life is a life worth living.