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Living Off The Land - Does Smallholding Pay?

 Living Off The Land - Does Smallholding Pay?

Thinking of a field, a static and a handful of animals to live life as smallholder? or buy a field and live life as an Off Grider? - “Living the Smallholding Dream” is indeed  a dream many people harbour. Yet, transitioning this dream into a financially (viable0,  reality often feels like navigating through a bewildering maze. While the appeal of rural life is undeniable, the pathway to making it a sustainable venture hinges on more than just a love for the countryside. It demands a solid grasp of the financial intricacies and a thorough understanding of the planning permission landscape.

The Planning Permission Conundrum:

Securing planning permission is a crucial milestone for any aspiring smallholder. The authorities need assurance that your venture is not merely a hobby farm, but a legitimate rural enterprise. Two key criteria form the bedrock of gaining this permission:

The Need for On-site Presence: The nature of smallholding often necessitates round-the-clock attention, especially during critical farming periods. Whether it's lambing season or a sudden change in weather conditions affecting your crops, your presence on-site could be the difference between success and failure.

Financial Viability: Your smallholding venture needs to demonstrate financial viability, meaning it should generate enough income to sustain itself and its caretakers. The benchmark often used is the ability to earn at least the minimum wage, which as of April 2023, stands at £10.42 per hour, translating to an annual income of £20,329.50 for a full-time worker.

Financial Literacy: Your Beacon in the Fog:

Understanding the financial dynamics of smallholding is paramount. It's about having a clear financial roadmap, knowing your expenses, projected income, and how to achieve a balance between the two. From budgeting for animal feed and healthcare to calculating the ROI on planting specific crops, every decision impacts your bottom line.

A Peek Into Smallholding Costs and Earnings:

Embarking on a smallholding journey comes with its share of costs and potential earnings. Here’s a glimpse into the financial dynamics using a practical example:

Consider the humble hen, a staple in many smallholdings. The cost to rear a hen averages around 48p per week. Each hen, on average, lays about 6 eggs a week. If you opt for a free-range setup, you could sell these eggs at £1.80 per half dozen or roughly 30p per egg at the farm gate.

Let’s do a little math:

  • Cost to rear 10 hens per week: £4.80
  • Eggs laid by 10 hens per week: 60 eggs
  • Revenue from selling 60 eggs: £18.00
  • Weekly profit from 10 hens: £13.20

Multiply this by 52 weeks, and you could earn a yearly profit of £686.40 from just 10 hens.

Now, what if you scaled up to 100 hens?

  • Cost to rear 100 hens per week: £48.00
  • Eggs laid by 100 hens per week: 600 eggs
  • Revenue from selling 600 eggs: £180.00
  • Weekly profit from 100 hens: £132.00

Multiply this by 52 weeks, and the yearly profit surges to £6,864.00. This represents almost a 34% of the total you need to satisfy the minimum wage benchmark of £20,329.50. - So trust me, it can be done…. 

The numbers are compelling, but where's the sweet spot? How many hens would strike the perfect balance between investment, care, and profit? Our workshop delves into these intricacies, providing you with the knowledge to find that sweet spot for your unique circumstances. 

A Guided Journey to Financial Viability:

Your quest for financial clarity doesn’t have to be a solitary one. Enrol in our workshop about making your smallholding financially viable,  to gain a pragmatic understanding of the financial aspects of smallholding. This isn't about how to rear animals or decide on the best fencing; it's a focused exploration of the financial figures crucial to making your smallholding venture add up.

Guided by Zoe, a seasoned smallholder and a respected voice in the community, the workshop offers a blend of classroom insights and a hands-on tour of a successful smallholding setup. It's a chance to engage in candid discussions, ask pressing questions, and gain a realistic understanding of what it takes to make a smallholding financially viable, especially for those planning a venture on a 1-4 acre plot.

Informative, Inspiring, and Invaluable:

This short course  is more than just a learning opportunity; it's a gateway to a community of like-minded individuals, all united by a common dream of living off the land. It's about learning from those who've walked the path, made the mistakes, and found a way to make it work.

So, before you take that leap of faith into the realm of smallholding, arm yourself with the knowledge to make informed decisions. Your rural dream awaits, and with the right preparation, you can make it a profitable reality.

This workshop is more than just a learning opportunity - it could change your life and help you realise your dream to be living off the land.

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***** Please note, we are not planning experts …. but we know a man who is…. We thoroughly recommend Ian at Planning Geek who helped us with advice for our forestry development. 

https://www.planninggeek.co.uk or join them on their facebook group which is super helpful : https://www.facebook.com/groups/363465297488628/?hoisted_section_header_type=recently_seen&multi_permalinks=1750457138789430