Do you have a skill for using crops or animals to produce food? If so, you could join the 107,000 farmers in the UK who use these skills as a career. Even better, as a self-employed farmer, you can run your own operations. But you may be wondering how to become a farmer, including what you’ll need and where to start.  

This guide will explain how to become a self-employed farmer, including: 

  • What you’ll need to become a self-employed farmer
  • How to set up as a self-employed farmer 
  • How to market your self-employed farming business

What you’ll need as a self-employed farmer

Farmers, like many small businesses, can only succeed with the right skills and equipment. This business requires some preparation. 

The right skills 

To become a farmer, you’ll want background and experience in a similar role. Some routes include getting a Level 3 Diploma in Agriculture at college or a university degree in Agriculture or Land Management. Formal education will offer you the skills to manage your farming activities efficiently. 

Aside from a diploma or degree, you can look into apprenticeships for general farm workers, poultry workers, or crop technicians. Spending time working with experienced farmers can teach you the skills of the trade. Then, use those skills to begin your self-employed career. 

Knowledge of the Industry 

You’ll also need knowledge of the farming industry. Following the industry trends and market can help you succeed as self-employed. When doing market research, also think about what services and products you’ll sell. 

Determining a focus will structure and promote a plan for your farming business. For example, you may want to sell vegetables, cows milk, or chicken eggs. 

Will you focus on a local client base or a widespread audience? As you start, consider narrowing your objectives to a manageable level. Over time you can expand. 

The proper tools 

The most important part of a self-employed farming business is having the right tools for the job. First, farming requires land. If you already own land, this can reduce startup costs. Otherwise, you’ll need to purchase or rent land to graze livestock or grow crops. 

Other necessary tools will depend on your focus. For animal farming, you’ll need livestock, such as cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, or horses as well as a supply of food. Necessary equipment will help you feed, keep, and maintain livestock, such as a barn and a livestock trailer. In addition, seeds and tools to grow and harvest plants are necessary for crop farming. Larger equipment like tractors, lorries, or harvesters will also help manage bigger fields. 

Apart from specific needs, you’ll probably need good working clothes, gardening tools and electrical tools. 

How to set up as a self-employed farmer

Knowing how to become a farmer also requires a bit of set-up. So, we’ll cover the first big steps. 

Register your business 

First, register your farming business as either a sole trader or limited company. Sole traders are personally liable for their business. Limited companies have more reporting and taxes, but your business will be its own legal entity. 

As a self-employed person, you’ll also pay taxes, including income tax, dividend tax, and national insurance. Learn more about what taxes you’ll have to pay and how to plan for them here

Find Insurance 

The right insurance coverage can protect your farming business and yourself. For example, liability insurance can defend you financially from damage or injury that your business is responsible for. Overarching farming insurance packages may cover everything you’ll need at once, so think about those options. 

Manage your bookkeeping 

Setting up your farming business requires transparent financial management. So, you’ll need to organise your finances and bookkeeping from the start. Organised records will help you plan for regular business expenses and track earnings. 

The right accounting software will save time while boosting your financial confidence. Apps like Countingup’s business account and accounting software can bring your financial information and record-keeping in one place. 

With tools like automatic expense categorisation and receipt capture, you can easily organise and track your business expenses. Plus, you can create and send unlimited invoices straight from the app. Countingup will send notifications when you receive the invoices and automatically match them to payments. 

You can even use these tools to create accurate reports for taxes. Countingup will generate tax estimates year-round to plan ahead and avoid surprises at tax season. With these tools, you can manage your farming finances to track profits and improve your budget. 

Organise your workload

Farming can often have unique hours based on when your crops or animals need tending to. Business management tools like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 will help organise your workload. These tools put your communications, calendar, and documents in one place, which will be useful for dealing with customers and managing your schedule. 

How to market your self-employed farming business 

Knowing how to become a farmer also means marketing your business well to find customers. To do this, first, consider your target audience. This audience will include the ideal customer that you want to buy from your business. 

Understanding your target customers will help focus your brand identity or the tone and design that represents your business. You can use this brand to develop marketing materials, such as designing a website and social media accounts. Learn more about promoting your business on social media here

Overall, the right marketing strategy will grow your business awareness to establish a customer base. With a dedicated and consistent approach, you can start earning an income as a self-employed farmer. 

Save time organising your finances with Countingup

To make the most of your farming business, you’ll need organised finances. But, financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here.