Buying a smallholding, or otherwise known as a small farm, is a dream many people have. The idyllic life of growing or raising produce, culturing land to create a beautiful life for the family. However, this kind of investment could be disastrous if it isn’t thought through. You have to have a good understanding of the kind of smallhold you want to run and what running it requires, and what you want to get out of it. Buying the smallholding and then realising it isn’t going to work for you can be very expensive, and quite an upheaval for everyone involved.
What are you hoping to achieve from the smallholding? Do you want it to be the chief money earner for your family? Do you want it to supplement the income you already have? Is the idea to change your lifestyle? Is it simply to have a little hobby? Knowing why you want the smallholding and what you want out of it will help you direct your research and help you understand what you are looking for (if you haven’t purchased the land yet). For example, if you specifically want to raise animals for food, you need to look into the laws surrounding animal welfare and raising animals to sell for food. If the smallholding is to create a free lifestyle for you and your family, then you’ll need to consider the ease in which you can care for the land, and how it lends itself to the lifestyle you imagined. Think really deeply about what you want and what you expect so you have a much more focused research funnel.
It is important to know what the land has to offer so you can understand exactly what your resources are. Is the land suitable for animals to graze? Is it suitable for growing vegetables and fruit? Are there water restrictions in your area? What about the climate, is it suitable for the lifestyle or business you want?
It is possible to completely learn everything you need from scratch, but you will still need some basic skills as well as a really determined attitude. Ideally, you will have some business knowledge, marketing knowledge, or a really large pool of passion to draw from for the life you want to create.
You have to accept that this is a big lifestyle change and even if you’re moving to a smallholding for the lifestyle, sometimes it can be too much for some people. The work and the responsibility can be difficult, even the cost of managing a large amount of land can be overwhelming. When it comes to business, the risk gets bigger. If you want to make an income off your smallholding, the planning needs to be much more elaborate to minimise the risk, but you still have to accept that your business could be one of the .
Understanding what the land has to offer, as well as what you have to put in and what you want, will all help you make an informed decision about whether or not the smallholding life is for you.
It is so important to understand that having a smallholding is a tough life, and the resources can be an issue if they are limited. Soil, water and farm location matter and should be high on your priority list regardless of why you want a small farm, because they affect everything. That aside, your reasons for wanting a smallholding are also very important. Small farms provide a really incredible opportunity for families to thrive and enjoy a different way of life. A smallholding purchased for lifestyle reasons can be a good starting point for a family considering fam life on a larger scale. It provides that smallholding experiences without the pressure of needing the land to make money. It can also be an excellent idea for those wanting to live off-grid and have independence. You could supply yourself with food, energy and fuel from a well chosen smallholding.
If you want a smallholding for money, the way you need to plan is different. Things are a little more serious, and you have to be a bit more cutthroat. Regardless of how you’re doing it, this is a business like any other so you have to dedicate time to ensure you can make money from this venture. You must be realistic and look at every single potential risk. You will also have a much larger initial outlay compared to a lifestyle smallholding purchase. They’ll be lots of things to purchase including tools and vehicles like tractors, and storage containers, plus several other essentials to consider such as:
- Structures being built
- Land preparation
- Outsourcing workers and companies
- Permits and registrations
You will have to think hard about the cost of running the land, the enterprise, the house and the business itself. It is of course entirely possible you’ll succeed, but only if you put the work into ensuring your success.
Success is not a destination, but the road that you’re on. Being successful means that you’re working hard and walking your walk every day. You can only live your dream by working hard towards it. That’s living your dream – Marlon Wayans
Owning a smallholding can be a dream, and an incredible way to make a living. But it is a huge commitment, and it is imperative you spend a lot of time and energy doing your research. With the right decisions, risk management, hard work and plenty of planning, you’ve every reason to have a wonderful smallholding life to look forward to.