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No. 28             DIVERSIFICATION NEWS             SPRING 2007

The Love of February

The one bright day in the month of February surely is the Love of Valentines day. That tiny chink of light when you are hauled out of your hibernation, have to get in the car and go to your nearest town to spend yet more money on the most important card of the year, a Valentine Card.

 My wife found the one I was given last year and recycled it as it is the only card where nothing extra is written on it and as you usually do not remember what the card looks like she got away with it.

But love is a most important criterion that makes the farm go round as much as life. Love is the cupid or naked winged child and appears in every form of affection, attachment, likeness or fondness to d'amour between lovers to "love" in a tennis match. It is transmitted and mutually recognised between ones animals whether in a herd or a single animal and the stories of mans relationships with animals are endless.

We must make time sometimes to stand back and think or pause or decide to reroute our life and this is the time of year when it can be done. To see people tearing themselves apart in foreign countries or the loss of our own loved ones is hard to bear at times and to see the way faceless men impose problems on our shoulders which have to be overcome on a daily basis and yet the bond of family and love carries us through.

40 years ago our farming Industry had 200,000 dairy herds and now we are down to the last 20,000. Think of the agonising and tears in many cases that people have gone through because of the stupidity of our administrators to let this country get into to this merry state together with the daily attacks one has to suffer to complete the forms that continue to allow us to trade.

In looking back at this total waste of resources couldn't something have been planned to think out the route forward for the future. Where has that market gone, because someone else must have picked it up or are we all on an extinction path?

So on this day of love, or which ever day is appropriate, lets pause and see if we can plan the long term future, and see if we can agree on some things with members of Parliament who must be made to understand that the planning of a pedigree herds takes 20 to 30 years and can not be created at a stroke - the same as building an aeroplane - let us see if the ruling parties can form some form of consensus to bring this industry out of probably one of the worst crisis it has had in its history perhaps the youth of this country may find an aim in the family and love.

Perhaps we should all cheer up, and go and buy the roses on offer in the market at this time of year from £3.50 to £75.00 per bunch. "Hello Darling look what I have got for you"!!

Off Britain

With the down turn in farming income there is not the same will to receive the bills that seemed to be part of the business in the old days and favours are not so forthcoming as they were and barter is now usually unheard of especially if a Veterinary has to go home with the pig in the back of the land rover!! The sizes of the professional practices are increasing due to the over heads and then everyone has to be accountable.

The off shoot of this is that an American disease has arrived with vengeance on our shore and it is called Insurance. There are two types of animal today the insured one and the uninsured ones and this has completely changed ambitions of the Veterinary practice both in the way the younger Veterinary looks at their Clients and the problems of the Clients being prepared to sue the Veterinary if things don't work out as they think they should.

If today you see a Veterinary they do not ask about the animal and its complaint, the first words are "Is the animal insured"?

If you happen to say "Yes" the speed with which the Veterinary can reach you certainly matches Roger Banister's 1 minute mile. If on the other hand it transpires that you are not insured the service turns out to be completely different as you are asking all along "how much is this going to cost"?

Recently a small, 7 year old Cocker Spaniel, must have run into a tree, wall or some such thing and would not stop howling, even for a short time, from the pain. Without going into the full story the owner took the dog to a recently qualified young Veterinary who said that ex rays were needed. Following this they could find nothing of any consequence so made an appointment with a specialist at some £300 per session followed by the possibility of an operation at nothing under £1500. The owner not having this type of money said that you could buy a trained dog for something less than that.

However the owner insisted on asking to see the senior Veterinary who ran his experienced hands over the little dog and said "I think we will try this". He administered an injection and gave the owner some pills. This was repeated a week later. The dog never squeaked again and a month later was picking up hen pheasants and went on to work for the rest of the season. Experience and confidence in his own skills and the owner accepting that he was doing his best, what ever the outcome, was all that was needed - total cost around £150. This would have been far less had the senior Vet been seen in the first place!!

The Veterinary profession is part of Agriculture and totally different to what is called the Town practice so beware of the toy dog syndrome and check out what value for money you are getting before you deliver your animal.

The End of the Shooting Season

The end of the Shooting season, to some, is welcome and to others only a challenge to review and improve the shoot in the coming year for the next season. The shooting season in Great Britain now turns over 3.8 Billion every year so it is a force to be reckoned with but in what ever way shoots are run the route to follow

is the Code of Conduct for Land Owners and not be continually increasing the numbers of birds and the number of days. The market is finite and rather like the holiday market in certain parts of the UK can only absorb so much. If you are considering growing more birds for next year and adding facilities and extra days be certain of your expected clients. It may be worth considering an alternative idea to develop smaller days for young people.

There are so many young people wanting to take part in shoots that to supplement the larger days with some fill in days or outside days may be a new route to travel for the Estate. Ensure that clients pay in good time and do not leave this until the last minute. A cheque of £36,000 bouncing down the corridor is not a nice sight when there is an Army outside to be paid.

Because there is more shooting about one is beginning to hear about more things going wrong and already the stories from last years injuries with guns exploding are coming in. Yes it is necessary to have your gun checked at the end of the season. No, not in September, but now so that one is ready before the Summer. Faults are often not seen, with a fore piece being taken off, as one example, only to find a hairline crack. Guns dropped need to be immediately inspected for pitting and guns need to be checked for being in or out of proof.

Don't loose a hand or an eye because of a flaw which could have been caught at an early stage.

Finally just because you have stopped shooting don't forget some of the pheasants are still in the woods and they look for the food vehicle when it comes. Don't go and starve them to death during this stark month where little food is available in the Countryside or they will not stay around. Did someone say Fishing?

Cassava A BioFuel

From time to time we have reviewed certain non food crops including crops for the Alternative energy market. Because of the ethnic input into the UK Cassava is a crop which is grown in African Caribbean Countries as food and now the technology is being perfected for bio ethanol as well.

This crop produces twice as much as maize and three times as much as millet or sorghum and is being seen in Africa as the overall leader for these markets accounting for half of the worlds output with Nigeria as the biggest producer.

This same crop has seen production levels triple on the Continent over the past 50 years and now covers 1/3 of the dietary needs of its population.

According to the FAO figures Africa produced 103 Mt. of cassava tubers on 18 million ha of land in 2004. The crop is specially good on small holdings as it can be grown in conjunction with other crops. As a crop it is relatively undemanding and will thrive on poor or tired soils.

Why should we consider such a crop for the UK? The reason being that there are highlands in Africa which produce similar conditions to the UK but with more humidity, so it needs to be grown in a protected area to survive any particularly cold February days so why not include it in your costing if you are considering the development of non fossil fuel for the development of energy products to see how I acre turns out.

"For Foreign Countries just starting out on this development this crop may be a serious consideration as Biofuel can help raise the farmers income, cut larger bills for oil imports, improve energy security and combat air pollution and groundwater contamination".

With population and carbon emissions rising this may be a way to buck the system and an opportunity for a farmer to climb aboard the fuel debate. Ring Landowning Initiatives for more information on 01404861284.

The Rural Dweller

There are many names that one calls people who live and work in the Countryside including Farmer Landlord "the guy" "her indoors" the sitting tenant, the agricultural tenant or the contractor, but a new name has emerged recently on to the scene, although he has been there for some time now but has now come to the fore and that is "The Rural Dweller".

It has been the practice for Land Agents and those who sell estates, farms and land holdings to offer onto the market these holdings, as a whole or in lots. On so many occasions now one is seeing much loved properties, which one has known since childhood, split up into units therefore destroying the main reason for living in the property for example no stables or out buildings are available.

The rural dweller comes along to spoil that dream and ends by giving countless thousands more than the local market can afford so he can scramble for his piece of the countryside all be it a very nice house with no amenities. What will he do when his daughter wants to join the Pony Club and have a pony?

The same effect is being felt in farms with 50% of the sales now being sold as "lifestyle properties" where an income is not the prime objective. If one investigates the matter further one finds that the town's person has moved to the Country and the retired farmer has moved to the town or village.

But this may not be a bad thing in the long run because what the rural dweller immediately wants to do on his newly acquired area of land is to either let the grass which will help a local farmer or purchase some rare breeds or to become involved in a new direction for his land like growing a crop for fuel.

With new money being injected into the land and perhaps the purchase of a new boiler or crushing plant for oil for the house or village, it is possible to change the current farm policy and invest in a new project which an existing farmer may not be able to do. So the matter is in many cases proving to come full circle with many of these small holdings and new innovative ideas being introduced to farming by this new breed –"The Rural Dweller."

With new money being injected into the business this can only bring good to the industry and will in the long run create a new way forward, new outlet and more jobs in the Countryside.

Landowning Initiatives concern

In past newsletters Landowning Initiatives has been concerned about the way new businesses are started on the Farm or the way the farm is farmed because of the effect that they may have over the overall inheritance tax assessment.

Burgess Salmon Solicitors ask the question in their recent quarterly review, The Inheritance Tax and Farm Houses "Do you qualify"? This is an important question and something that every farmer/land owner must take notice of in running his every day business.

They continue by saying – This years lands tribunal decision in Antrobus 2 suggested a narrowing of the interpretation of who is a farmer and when is a house a farmhouse for the purpose of inheritance tax.

The Lands Tribunal's view was that unless a house is lived in by a farmer who farms the land on a day to day basis the house cannot be regarded as a farmhouse and would therefore be ineligible for Inheritance tax.

The Lands Tribunal suggestions have now been largely adopted by the Special Commissioners in the decision of McKenna which concerned the Rosegate Estate in Cornwall. The Special Commissioner confirmed the principle that "a farmhouse is a dwelling for the farmer from which the farm is managed and that the farmer of the land is the person who farm's it on a day to day basis".

Therefore in future to secure Agricultural Property Relief (APR) for Inheritance Tax (IHT) on a farmhouse it will no longer be enough to show that the house is of a character appropriate to the holding and it is occupied for agriculture.

It will also have to be shown that the house was occupied in order to farm the land and most importantly the occupier farmed the land on a day to day basis.

Just being in overall control of the agricultural business is not sufficient. In future the use of contracting Agreements needs to be looked at with extreme caution.

(Burgess Salmon Solicitors Bristol)

The Global Market

Landowning Initiatives has now moved forward in researching areas of the global market especially including India and China and is interested in talking to anyone who has a business in Agricultural goods including food crops and alternative crops and Agricultural Technology and or services, and secondly in the Equestrian markets.

Landowning Initiatives is intending to run Trade Missions to these parts of the world to enhance Clients exports. The basic principle is that any Client or Businesses acting with Landowning Initiatives can either instruct Landowning Initiatives to take their product on a Trade Mission to test the market or they can come on a Trade Mission themselves.

If anyone is interested in developing an opportunity into what will become a very large market Landowning initiatives can pave the way to create an opportunity for an agent to be created in an overseas country or suggest a joint venture This is the way the world is moving forward so if anyone feels this situation is for them in these important Markets please telephone 01404861284 and ask for the export department.

Landowning Initiatives is especially interested at the moment in Companies who wish to export leisure goods including equestrian equipment to India and special pedigree stock.

It is intended that a Video presentation of the export goods being offered can be made in order to be presented to the new markets, This Landowning Initiatives will do for a fee and special brochures can also be prepared.

Sale of Ruby Devon's

One fine example of meat that is so welcome abroad is the Ruby Devon which is also the subject of the enclosed flyer for the Silver Jubilee sale at Forde Abbey Somerset on Saturday 17th March 2007 at 12 noon.


Have you put or asked for your Company name to be put on the Agricultural Directory as a free entry? You may also wish to pay for the enhanced or deluxe entry on this website This is an excellent route to selling your products throughout the UK and abroad. Don't miss this excellent opportunity to promote your Company and the enhanced and deluxe entries both give you a link to your own website.


What single word are the following, part of:

a. A side riffle 

b. A Groin 

c. A Barrier

You can win a bottle of Berry Bros Champagne. First person to call us on 01404 861 284 with the correct answer.

Correct at the time of gong to press.

Landowning Initiatives accept no liability for errors or omissions.

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