The 28th of May has always been a significant date as one of the traditional “term” dates when rents are due or where the tenant takes entry to or removes from the subjects leased. Changeovers are not as common now but still a significant date in the rural calendar.
Who would have thought that it would have a new significance this year as it marks the first small steps in easing lockdown in Scotland. As I said in my last blog, despite the restrictions, there has still been a relatively steady number of enquiries into the Land Matching Service. Whilst the follow-up telephone discussions have been helpful it has been frustrating not being able to meet people face to face and it is going to be a while before we see life getting back to some semblance of normality – whatever that might look like in the future.
One thing for sure is that things will be different to what we knew before the pandemic as people will have adjusted how they live and work and found that it suits them better. Farming, of course, has a long and great history of adapting to whatever life throws at it – whether it is weather, disease, market or political change – and generally coming through stronger.
What you might ask has that got to do with Land Matching? Making change is never easy, but recent events might be the catalyst for some to think about the future. There are still many people coming forward looking for opportunities who have a drive and enthusiasm to succeed – but they need the opportunity. If this period has made you think about looking towards retiral/change then please get in touch for a confidential chat – it does no harm to chat.
I had been planning to make use of many of the major summer shows and events as an opportunity to meet people to explain and discuss the Land Matching Service. Sadly, of course, that is no longer going to be possible, but I look forward to hopefully having an opportunity over the autumn-winter period to do so – virus permitting!
The extended great spell of weather we have had has certainly helped as we come to the end of our seventh week of lockdown. My last face to face meeting with someone was on 16 March but I have been really pleased that since then despite the restrictions the Service has still been able to operate.
Since the website launched on 8 April there have been 23 new registrations of interest as well as 6 direct telephone contacts which is really encouraging. Most registrations are still coming from people looking for opportunities though I am pleased that there have been some new and different opportunities coming forward since the website went live. These are all on the notes page of the website and if any are of interest please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Of course, the restrictions have meant that meeting people has been impossible and therefore to keep things moving I have been having very helpful telephone conversations getting more detail on people’s objectives and discussing what their options might be.
The knock-on effect on making introductions is obvious but I have been able to make some “virtual” introductions where people are going to contact each other by telephone in the first instance. Hopefully that can lead to a face to face meeting, when that can take place safely, and build the relationship further.
When I spoke at the NFUS Argyll and Islands AGM in Tarbert back in January the point was raised not to forget that farm management was also a very useful and helpful way into the industry particularly in gaining valuable experience in operating a business.
There are not as many farm managers posts available as there used to be, but it is something that could be worth looking at as a route into establishing a future joint venture. As I have said many times before joint ventures are about building relationships and trust. Farm / enterprise management as part of initial steps in building a relationship that develops into a joint venture may well be an option worth considering.
As we continue with the current restrictions on meeting I thought it would be useful to share this video which highlights that joint ventures do work. The joint venture featured has been going now for 11 years and has built a very successful business born out of having to solve a problem. Key elements as discussed in the video are trust and flexibility from both parties. If you think a joint venture might be of interest please don’t hesitate to contact me for a confidential initial chat.
Having been through a period of uncertainty because of Brexit I don’t think anyone could ever have conceived that we would be almost immediately into an even more extraordinary period in our history. Covid19 has certainly impacted on the way we live and work and it will be interesting to see what legacy that leaves when inevitably we are through this.
Farming of course goes on – the tap simply cannot be switched on and off at will. By the time you are reading this sowing, planting, lambing and calving will all be well underway with all the promise and hope that new life brings.
Being in lockdown has meant of course that meeting people face to face to discuss opportunities has had to be put on hold. That is why I am particularly pleased that today we are launching our new website which will give anyone who might be interested in joint ventures the opportunity to register with the Service. It will also include listings of opportunities being sought and offered. If anything is of interest, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for more details and a confidential discussion – it costs nothing. Happy to discus over the phone or by using Skype or Zoom.
It has been clear since the Service launched that there are more people looking for opportunities than there are opportunities available. It has therefore been encouraging recently that more people have been coming forward wanting to investigate how a joint venture might work for them on their farming business. Even if you only want to find out a bit more please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Successful joint ventures of course are built on strong relationships and trust. Building that relationship can take time and relies on flexibility and open communication on both sides.
Finally, I was pleased to see the opportunity advertised in the Scottish Farmer this weekend for a Contract Farming opportunity in east Fife. It is an arable unit outside St Andrews – good opportunity for someone.