Growing Green: How to Become a Farmer in the UK

Breaking into the UK agricultural industry has traditionally been a family affair. Children are inspired to take up their parents’ profession, and the family farm is passed down to the next generation.

Today, more children of farming families are permanently leaving the farming profession in favor of other career paths. This turn of events has opened up a potential market for non-traditional farmers, i.e. individuals who don’t have a family tradition of farming in their past. So how does such a person break into farming for the first time?

Do your research:

There’s no better way to research a profession than to work at that profession for a significant period of time. If you are young and unencumbered by rigid financial obligations, take a full-time job on a working farm. Talk to successful farmers and learn their strategies. Understanding the day-to-day operations involved with farming is a must. Also, understand that wanting to work on a farm and actually doing it are two different things. Farming is hard work and, after a few months, many decide they’d rather consume the products of farming than produce them.

A great resource for finding a farm that will take you on with very little experience is: World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms-UK WWOOF.

This organization finds positions for individuals who want to learn a specific set of farming skills. Whether you want to be a beekeeper, a cattle farmer, or a grower of organic crops; WOOF can find a position that meets your needs.

If you are under 26 years old you should consider joining the National Federation of Young Farmers YFC as this will give you great opportunities to network and hear about upcoming farming jobs.

Get your education:

Modern farming is a science. Agricultural education is crucial to your future success as a full-time farmer. There are many agricultural training programs offered in the UK. Many of these institutions have been in existence for over 100 years and Stackyard lists some of the UK agriculture colleges. Courses offered cover everything from crop rotation to legal concerns.

A variety of scholarships are generally available through the college chosen. These scholarships are usually allocated by financial need or to reward superior academic achievement.

Find your funding:

Renting land is a potential way to break into farming without taking out a loan. There is a significant downside, however. The cost of renting land has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of profit you’re able to retain. Since farming profits are highly dependant upon unpredictable factors; renting early in your farming endeavors can be a hit-or-miss proposition.

Thanks to a recent government initiative to encourage local food production, the UK government has a variety of low-interest loans available for the aspiring farmer. These loans provide better interest rates than traditional loans from private institutions.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She spends much of her days blogging about Education and CollegeScholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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8 Responses to “Growing Green: How to Become a Farmer in the UK”

  1. (35 comments.) Says:

    Hi Sally B, where have you been hiding.{:)

    More very good information provided here.
    Its a good job that there is such a loan scheme as the banks arn’t exactly forthcoming with the “readies” at the moment.
    Roy Norris´s last blog ..My ComLuv Profile

  2. Sally Says:

    Hi Roy

    Great to “see” you, how is life treating you?

    Sorry I had a two week holiday and then spent every week since reprimanding myself for not getting back into blogging … hopefully this is me back now though, have missed my blog mates.

  3. (35 comments.) Says:

    Hey Sally, I’m pretty good.

    A Farmer’s wife having a holiday. ??
    I must make a note of that.{:)
    I have just had 10 days in Paris so I need to stock up on current photos of whats happening in the countryside, but the weather isn’t great.
    Roy Norris´s last blog ..My ComLuv Profile

  4. Sally Says:

    Hi Roy

    I hope you got some good pics of Paris and enjoyed your break.

    The weather has been awful, we lost a third of our hay this year because of it … of course a day after we did get it in we had two days of blazing sun … hohum.

  5. Jay from How to Grow Vegetables (2 comments.) Says:

    Hi there Sally! I read your blog post and being a farmer in UK seems hard, in my country (Philippines) it seems much easier but the harvest is not really impressive, maybe because of lack of research and development, I like to follow this blog and discover how gardeners and farmers from other countries gets successful in farming ventures.
    Jay @ How to Grow Vegetables´s last blog ..Importance of Growing Your Own VegetablesMy ComLuv Profile

  6. Sally Says:

    Hi Jay

    It’s been a dreadful year for harvest around the world, even my veg garden was attacked by killer bugs who just would not die arrghhhh

  7. Jay from How to Grow Vegetables (2 comments.) Says:

    woah! Killer bugs is annoying especially if you a growing organic veggies, I heard about companion cropping but never tried it yet.
    Jay @ How to Grow Vegetables´s last blog ..Organic Vegetable Gardening GuideMy ComLuv Profile

  8. naz from eco-friendly bags (1 comments.) Says:

    I had always wanted to grow my own veg but being new to UK and not owning my own house, I found it difficult to manage to do that. Recently I moved in to a house with a large back garden. We grew our own lettuce, carrots, peas and some herbs as well. I felt immense satisfaction of being able to eat my own home grown salad. I dream of one day having my own farm – seems a distant dream but who knows.

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