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Following the Rules

Food Standards Regulations

So, you have tried out your products with friends and family and they all love them and are happy to spread the word about how tasty it all is.  What now?   What regulations apply?

Whatever your plans are for your direct selling venture – selling to a few local people or a chain of farm shops -  the first call should be to your local authority environmental health team.   They are there to help keep you on the right side of the regulations and will be happy to talk to you and guide you through what you need to know and do to get started.

Paperwork

Have you considered the paperwork involved and how this will affect your business and workload?  As a farmer you may consider the amount of paperwork you already have as onerous but this will increase considerably when you start selling to the public.    Record keeping is vitally important when selling foodstuffs especially meat .

Book Keeping & Accounts

Talk to your accountant about how this will change your business model and associated costs.  Are you VAT registered?    If not, will this take you over the turnover threshold?

Pricing  - How much do you have to charge to make reasonable return?

It can be complicated working out input costs and attributing them to a single animal going to slaughter and butcher.   It is worth taking advice before you start as it can be very disheartening discovering you have done a lot of work for little or no return.    An Agricultural Advisor can help you with business planning  and calculating costs.   SAC Consulting has many offices across Scotland and has access to  various specialists including a dedicated Food & Drink team

Funding Help

If you are looking to diversify your business and need help with the  planning stage then a FAS funded Integrated Land Management Plan (ILMP) may be what you need.  You can apply online here and if accepted you  will be able to choose and ‘accredited advisor’ to help.

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