We have two group assignments this year; one is for Rural Professional Practice (RPP) and the other is for Farm Business Management (FBM). The RPP assignment is sponsored by Smiths Gore, meaning that the ‘winning’ assignment team will get some money as a prize and win the award.
We have a live case study – a farm where the tenant has left, and we have to work out what to do with the farm. We’ve had a couple of team meetings to discuss our ideas, if we want to convert any of the buildings, sell parts of the farm, what work needs to be done, etc. etc. One thing that has been an important part of making the decisions has been market research. We need to know what the market is doing in that area, for example residential lettings, how much it will cost to do any essential work and conversions to the buildings and how much money could be made. We’re doing this for several options to assess the viability and to aide the decision making process.
The FBM assignment is similar in that we have a farm to deal with, but is not a live case. The first half of the assignment, which wasn’t in groups, was to look at the farm and propose a farming system, again looking at market trends, viability and the productive capacity of the farm. In this half of the assignment we have to look at four different tenancy proposals and decide which one to advise the landlord to accept, and any further information that the landlord might want to ask.
Our group had a meeting for the FBM assignment today. We had taken a proposal each to look over and shared our views on them, before going away to write up what we thought of the proposals. I ended up with a proposal involving several enterprises including Halal sheep, which has been an interesting challenge! The idea of today’s meeting was to briefly catch up on where everyone had got to, and work out the next step, which would be to start putting the report together.
But in true Monday style, we discovered something we had overlooked with one of the proposals. It was complicated and took us a while to get our heads around and work out, so our brief meeting was dragged out for two hours, until the next lecture. But that has been sorted, and now we are ready to crack on, write the report and suggest a prospective tenant to the hypothetical landlord.
It’s going to be a long old week.