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The Country Enterprise Handbook
Analysing your assets|Land use|Vegetables|Soft fruit|Flower & herb growing|Orchard & vineyard|Woodlands Sheep|Beef|Pigs|Rabbits|Hens|Ducks|Geese|Dairying|Kitchen|Bees|Wool|Water|Home|Contact us

Analysing your assets

...Your abilities

>...Your space

...Livestock or jam?

...Your work pattern

...Your environment

...Your selling skills

...Your marketplace

...Your packaging

...Your books

Having decided on the sort of enterprise to which you are most suited, the next stage is to analyse where you intend to carry out the enterprise.

With the urban kitchen or shed the choices are fairly clear: cooking in one, woodwork, pottery and other bench crafts in the other. Spinning only occupies a space some four feet square and weaving not much more, depending on the size of loom. These are all traditional country-style occupations from which you can earn money in an urban setting.

The most shabby looking buildings are valuable if they suit the enterprise you have in mind. Sheep like plenty of ventilation if housed; hay and straw can be stored in not much more than a roof on legs. Cattle also thrive in fresh air if you have room to keep them.

With solid buildings, like stables, solid-sided barns and so on, the choice of enterprise increases to include pig- or poultry-keeping.

Some buildings make the choice easy. We bought a property once with a pig farm on it. There was a farrowing house (a maternity unit), pens for the sows and fattening pens for porkers. To build that from scratch would have cost us more than we paid for the house and buildings so the asset was extremely valuable to us. When we sold the house and pig farm many years later the new owner knocked the whole lot down because the asset had no value for him. We just wished we could have transported the buildings. A dairy or similar building has beautifully lined walls, it is ideal for milk or other food production, drains will have been laid to carry water well away - that is assuming, of course, that whoever constructed the dairy did as they were meant to. Even the dirtiest old dairies tend to respond miraculously to some tender loving care and a great deal of soap and water.

If you have a range of glasshouses then their value is dependent on their condition. Acres and acres of glasshouses have fallen into disrepair. Almost inevitably it is then cheaper to pull them all down and erect polytunnels. Having said that, it is cheaper still more often a liability than an asset.

With a great many buildings of all sorts of shapes and sizes your choice is governed by the land, if any, that you also have. Many enterprises with livestock can be carried out without land whereas some, like sheep-keeping, are really only practicable if there is land in the summer. Of course, the land does not have to be with the buildings. Many sheep and cattle farmers rent land to which they travel to check their livestock. With a lot of land and buildings you can either separate the two, running intensive livestock in the buildings and farming the land, or you can use the buildings with the land, for inwintering livestock and so on.

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