In this blog post, Future Farmer Victoria Hudson explains her journey to finally securing a long sought after farm tenancy.
To register your interest in attending this training course, or to find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the past two years my husband, Mike Hudson and I, have struggled, persevered and finally been successful in securing a tenanted farm; sadly not in Yorkshire, but you can’t have everything in life.
Mike is an agricultural fabricator and I am a livestock vet.
Whilst both of us had farming backgrounds, neither had a farm to take on and so, once we had sufficient funds, we began applying for Farm Business Tenancies with our farming vision.
We initially felt vastly underprepared, writing a tender for the first time was a daunting task.
We borrowed books from the library, begged to read friends’ college mock tender assignments and stole advice from anyone who was knowledgeable in the art of tendering.
Following farm viewings, we carefully wrote the business plan with a set vision of our suckler beef farm and various diversifications.
However, it was the five year cash flow forecasting that was the most challenging and it took a full week of evenings, pouring over the figures, to get our heads around it all.
We are comfortable discussing our respective professions but the rigorous nature of the interview phase came as quite a shock.
Every system, quote, scheme, hope and dream were analysed in minute detail.
Reacting to rejection
We reached the final three applicants but didn’t succeed with our first attempt and despite asking for feedback, we didn’t receive any.
Spring was around the corner and time was running out for our cows who were living in temporary housing, with no grazing to turn them out onto.
I began to quietly question if this was the change and life that we wanted? Was I mad for trying? But the questions evaporated as fast as they appeared; we would make farming happen for us.
Other less suitable opportunities came and went, until finally we were invited to interview for a small farm on the outskirts of our desired catchment area.
After so much practice we had greater confidence when discussing our tender, could withstand the quick-fire questions about our cash flows and presented a farming plan which aligned with the landlord’s views.
Success at last
We finally gained our tenant farm in April this year and have found time to reflect on the challenging process which we waded through.
As there is intense competition for farm tenancies, to be successful, applicants must be prepared to showcase their practical farming ability, business experience, financial sustainability and sound judgement.
We could not have succeeded without the help of so many generous people and wholeheartedly support the any training and resources which could enable others to produce successful tenders.
Future Farmers tenancy training
I have been helping the Future Farmers group design a tenancy workshop on Wednesday 2nd November at Pavilions of Harrogate, where I’ll be sharing my story.
We will also be joined by George Dunn, Chief Executive of the Tenant Farmers Association and other industry professionals, who will be covering the different types of tenancy, preparing the tender and cashflows.
We will also talk through the farm viewing and interview.
Following the training there will be an opportunity to write a mock tender for a farm and face a panel interview.
Despite sounding pretty full-on, all those who have been on Future Farmers training know that the coffee and banter are usually flowing and it’s an opportunity to learn and meet other like-minded individuals.
Email email@example.com to register or find out more.