Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Newbie here  (Read 591 times)


  • Joined Apr 2021
Newbie here
« on: April 12, 2021, 08:00:17 pm »
Hello everyone. My first post here and lots and lots to learn.

A few years ago we bought a smallholding in Carmarthenshire with just under 13 acres. As I understand it, we're not eligible to claim BPS as we currently have less than 5 eligible hectares. We have approximately 2.25ha of pasture, 1ha of woodland and 1.68ha of marsh (wildlife area).

A neighbouring farmer maybe selling some land consisting of 4.3ha (10.6 acres) of pasture and so if I purchase the land I should qualify for BPS but what are entitlements please? Does woodland also count towards the eligible land area?

All the stock fencing and gates are in poor condition too and will need replacing. I see there are schemes/grants which assist in fencing. How does this work please? Do they calculate the fencing perimeter or area to calculate the value of the grant?

We will also need to decide what to do with the land. I work fulltime but would love to "retire" early and make a living from the land but we donít have any husbandry experience. Renting the land out wonít generate much income I presume?

If you have any other suggestions or advice, all greatly received.

Many thanks


  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: either over-crowded or villages left half-empty.
Re: Newbie here
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2021, 02:44:44 am »
Very very late, I offer a belated welcome to the forum @Freshair_Dave - not sure how we all missed your post.

Where do you stand this far on?


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Newbie here
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2021, 08:35:19 am »
Likewise - don't know why I didn't say hi at the time! Welcome. Hopefully, you'll get some replies now.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Newbie here
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2021, 11:46:26 am »
Sorry @Freshair_Dave, we all missed your post when you posted it for some reason.  (Sometimes the forum software doesn't seem to show new posts under "Unread", not sure why.)

You need entitlements for your land in order to register for and claim payments.  You will need to buy the entitlements once you have sufficient land.  I am not sure how the market for entitlements is working now, since Brexit, as I think no-one is yet sure what will be the future of subsidies now that they won't be coming from the EU.  Your local land agent will be able to advise. 

Once you are registered, you would have access to any grants and so on.  I have not farmed in Wales and I do not know if the schemes differ to England.  I am also out of date with the situation in England, having moved from an upland farm in Cumbria to a Cornish smallholding nearly 5 years ago.  We have chosen to not register for subsidies here, although we have sufficient ground (approx 15 of our 32 acres is eligible), because the paperwork is an utter nightmare, with so little land there is no way the payments would cover an agent to do the paperwork, the limitations imposed would far outweigh any tiny income, not to mention the increased likelihood of inspections and all the work and disruption that that entails.

In England (with the proviso there could have been changes in the last 5 years), no, woodland is not eligible.  And there are no subsidies for fencing with the exception that there may be some assistance if establishing new native woodland, where that is regarded as beneficial by your local Natural England ecologist and he/she thinks it needs fencing from your own livestock and or from deer, and can find a scheme for you to use.  (And note that the land so planted would then become ineligible for farming subsidies.)  In any case, I don't think renewal of existing fencing would ever be covered.

You may well find that a local shepherd would take the land for grazing, and be happy to either use electric to augment your existing fencing or possibly to undertake repairs to / renewal of fencing as part of the arrangement.  You would make far more money out of letting the grazing than trying to farm it yourself.  No idea what grazing might fetch where you are, but in Cumbria we used to pay £100/acre for summer grazing (fenced) and a little less for 11-months' grazing with responsibility for maintaining the fencing.

Most farmers barely make a living from their land; the average farmer's income is a little over £8,000 pa after expenses.  (The subsidies basically make it feasible to farm at a loss.)  Almost all farms have to diversify (often tourism) and / or have someone bring in additional income.  The farmer I lived with in Cumbria did make a living out of his 300-ish acres, but was on a Higher-level Environmental Scheme to do so.  The livestock made a loss.  And the Northumberland moorland farm I was on before that also made a decent income from its 1,000+ acres - but again, with the Higher-level Environmental Scheme compensating for the net cost of farming livestock in order to manage the moorland.

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Newbie here
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2021, 12:54:27 pm »
Hello and welcome Dave. 

On the topic of subsidies, we qualified for hedgerow support (a long time ago and I've forgotten what it's actually called), but after many toings and froings, checking and submitting maps and questionnaires, we were awarded the grand sum of about £12 for all our hedges, with conditions.  We were also due another acreage subsidy, but with a similar vast amount of office time spent, they 'redrew our boundaries' so we were then about 0.01 under the qualifying hectarage.  At that point we decided it was a mug's game and just got on with the job on our own.  This gives us the space to live and work on our smallholding effectively without supervision where the land itself is concerned. The huge subsidies for owning land you hear about belong to those who have huge areas in their names, and can live without raising a finger to work the land - cynical, true. 13 acres is too small an area to provide a living for one person, let alone more, unless you convert it to a more intensive project such as housed pigs or poultry, vegetable production for a high end market, or you have diamonds under your land and you own the mining rights  ::)   Smallholding is often more of a lifestyle choice than a career.

"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.


Hi from south lanarkshire newbie ( or should I say hope to be newbie)

Started by ggennett (7.38)

Replies: 9
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