NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Looking for info for Case Studies for a book on smallholding  (Read 1575 times)

Cornishstar

  • Joined Jan 2017
Hello all,

Im looking for some smallholders and people running small rural businesses on farms, smallholdings and in country cottages who have diversification projects that are providing you with a wage (however small).

Luckily, I have some fantastic contacts who have given some info and these include fuel wood providers, charcoal makers and fruit cordial producers.  Im looking for a variety of projects and need another 5 or so case studies.

Ive attached a template with questions (ignore the pie chart bit), so you can see the kind of info I need, and inclusion in the book Successful Smallholding will include your website and any social media details, so hopefully readers may contact you if they like the look of your services.   

Im a retired agricultural college lecturer who used to write for Country Smallholding & Smallholder magazine.  The book Successful Smallholding has a publisher and Im trying to write a realistic guide to making a profit on a smallholding.  Its a favourite topic on this forum and can be done - I have run a successful smallholding in Cornwall for many years on 1.2 acres, which provided a wage for me and my husband and our 2 kids.

Diversification is key, so Im covering a broad range of activities/services & projects with data on how much each costs, likely profits and aims to cover situations all over the UK.

Thanks in advance for your help with this.
Voss Electric Fence

Backinwellies

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  • Joined Sep 2012
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Re: Looking for info for Case Studies for a book on smallholding
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2017, 08:10:30 am »
I hope your book is going to be realistic ...... You may have made a wage off less than 2 acres but the majority of smallholders don't.......
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

http://nantygroes.blogspot.co.uk/
www.nantygroes.co.uk
Nantygroes  facebook page

Cornishstar

  • Joined Jan 2017
Re: Looking for info for Case Studies for a book on smallholding
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2017, 10:58:59 am »
I have been a smallholder since 2005 and made a loss for 3 years before having a very hard look at what we were doing and what we could do.  Moving from Scotland to Cornwall was a huge risk for us and we just couldnt do the same things that were profitable in Scotland down here.
Lots of smallholders have more than one job, and so did we!  No-one is asking people to be martyrs to the cause - we all have to live to keep this way of life, so we diversified.  Best thing we did.
I worked part time as a Training Co-ordinator for the Rural Business School and my husband offered agricultural welding & fabrication.
We stopped being an egg producer & packing station as it was like burning money and set up small pens of rare breed hens for hatching eggs which we sold very profitably.  We still got to eat the surplus eggs, but it made enough money to support ALL the poultry we kept.

There is so much more to making a smallholding life profitable, and people and their skills and own smallholding are so unique that there isnt a 'one size fits all' solution, so Im looking at a variety of case studies from real people who have made rural businesses that work and are profitable.  The smallest plot of land belongs to a lady who actually only has a cottage with a garden, who justs makes a living making cordials.

Im not writing a 'smallholding manual', thats been done to death.  This book will look in some depth at diversification ideas that may suit individuals who are living a smallholding life but who are struggling with it.  Naturally, not every smallholder who reads the book is going to be a runaway success - but a lot of that is down to the fact that some people are never going to be good in business, either because they have no people or marketing skills or they dont or cant change what they do.

I have some case studies ready now from a charcoal maker, a cider & juice producer, a wood fuel producer, a cordial maker, a cheese producer and a fish farm!  Im looking for other people who have diversified and have businesses that they run from a farm, smallholding or cottage who wouldnt mind answering a few questions to help me with this book (no nosy questions asking how much money you make!).

Thanks

Backinwellies

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Re: Looking for info for Case Studies for a book on smallholding
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2017, 11:31:39 am »
Thank you for clarification ... sounds very interesting.

 I am always sceptical of the term 'make a living at smallholding' because most of us work elsewhere to pay big bills... we have many 'newbees' come on here and ask how to live off 5 acres with no other income (and expect to have sheep!)
 
Making a profit out of an enterprise .... now that is much more interesting and practical ... that enterprise for some will generate a good profit .

Anyone got anything that could be used?     
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

http://nantygroes.blogspot.co.uk/
www.nantygroes.co.uk
Nantygroes  facebook page

wannabefarmer

  • Joined May 2017
Re: Looking for info for Case Studies for a book on smallholding
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2017, 09:58:20 am »
Definitely interested in reading your book once it is out.

BobTheFarmer

  • Joined Jul 2017
Re: Looking for info for Case Studies for a book on smallholding
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2017, 06:17:37 pm »
Sounds like a fantastic book, I will definitely buy a copy!  I'm currently looking for land in Cornwall but was figuring we'd need at least 15 acres to have enough diversification to make money out of it...  :farmer:

Cornishstar

  • Joined Jan 2017
Re: Looking for info for Case Studies for a book on smallholding
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2019, 11:49:52 am »
Hi both - the book is out and there is a money off voucher in May's edition of Country Smallholding for it too!  The Sustainable Smallholders Handbook is full of loads of ideas from tried and tested projects, and case studies of smallholders and rural businesses.  there is a lot of Agricultural ties too (we lifted ours).  Can be ordered from the publisher here   http://shop.posthousepublishing.com/The-Sustainable-Smallholders-Handbook 

AND Im hoping Rosemary will review it!

Backinwellies

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Re: Looking for info for Case Studies for a book on smallholding
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2019, 12:57:14 pm »
How much is the voucher worth? ….. just wondering if it is worth buying C S this month (had given up buying it … gets rather repetitive and not in enough depth on anything to be worth buying long term once you have your smallholding established.  )

Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

http://nantygroes.blogspot.co.uk/
www.nantygroes.co.uk
Nantygroes  facebook page

Kiran

  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: Looking for info for Case Studies for a book on smallholding
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2019, 09:18:38 am »
Hi both - the book is out and there is a money off voucher in May's edition of Country Smallholding for it too!  The Sustainable Smallholders Handbook is full of loads of ideas from tried and tested projects, and case studies of smallholders and rural businesses.  there is a lot of Agricultural ties too (we lifted ours).  Can be ordered from the publisher here   http://shop.posthousepublishing.com/The-Sustainable-Smallholders-Handbook 

AND Im hoping Rosemary will review it!

I've just ordered a copy from hive as they support local businesses. Looking forward to reading it.

Cornishstar

  • Joined Jan 2017
Re: Looking for info for Case Studies for a book on smallholding
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2019, 10:09:55 am »
Thanks Kiran, Hope you enjoy it.
Its been selling quite well and Ive had some great reviews on Amazon    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sustainable-Smallholders-Handbook-practical-living/dp/1903872332/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?keywords=the+sustainable+smallhol%3Bders+Handbook&qid=1566464900&s=gateway&sr=8-2-fkmr0  I did send a copy to Rosemary to review some time ago, but she hasnt got round to it yet.

Im doing a small promotional tour in Devon & Cornwall in late September/early October and hope to come to Scotland sometime afterwards.
Im almost finished the second book which is aimed at people wanting to start smallholding in France.

Zyg

  • Joined Nov 2018
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Looking for info for Case Studies for a book on smallholding
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2019, 12:29:32 pm »
I have also just ordered from Hive.
I look forward to reading it as we have just started making goats cheese and will read that section with particular interest.

 

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