Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and pandemics, such as COVID-19 all make people consider how they live. Specifically many people are wondering about the strength of the economy and whether they still have a job.
It’s this type of thinking that makes you turn your thoughts to self-sufficiency. After all, the more food you can produce at home the less you need to earn. In effect, you can reduce stress and improve your quality of life.
But, some rules must be observed. Whether you’re planning on creating a small rural farm or simply keeping some livestock in your back yard, you need to be aware of what they are and how they affect you.
Creating A Small Farm
If you’re interested in small farming then you need to decide if you intend to turn a profit or simply create enough produce to look after you and your family.
In order to turn a profit, you’re likely to need around 400 acres of land or more. Of course, this involves setup cots which can make the project seem enviable.
Fortunately, you can get great agricultural finance to help you get started and build a sustainable future.
At this point, you should note that starting a small farm means preparing income and expenditure forecasts in the same way that you would for any business. You’ll need to register as a business and verify the rules in your local state. The rules can be different in each state but, in general, you’ll need a license to operate a small farm.
The good news is that by registering you’ll have declared your intention to keep livestock and will be able to bring them onto your farm.
It is important to ensure your livestock is looked after according to local regulations.
Your Back Yard
If your aims are not quite so grandiose then you’ll be considering what you can do with your back yard. Creating a vegetable garden is a great starting point. But, having some chickens, pigs, and even a cow or two, can really help you become more self-sufficient. Additionally, be sure to do sufficient research and read up on articles like https://naturaldwellers.com/how-to-raise-livestock-for-food/ before you get started to be better prepared.
At this stage, you should be aware that any animal which can be farmed is classified as livestock. In short, if you’re considering cows, pigs, sheep, horses, chickens, goats; emus, alpacas, or ostriches, you’re keeping livestock.
This is not an exhaustive list.
If your home is in a residential area you’re going to need a permit. Interestingly, if your home is rural, or classified as a rural residential area, then a permit won’t be necessary.
In other words, if you live in the town a permit is essential. IF you live on the outskirts of the town you may need one, you’ll want to verify with your local council to be sure.
It’s also worth noting that if you have development approval from the council you won’t need to apply for a permit. Development approval is when you’ve already disclosed your design plans to the council, including building types and locations.
Because they already know what you are doing an additional permit is not necessary.
If you’re living in one of the following you’re probably classed as a standard residential area:
- Standard dwelling house, or multiple property
- Retirement home
- Residential care facility
- Community residence
- Dual occupancy
- Workforce accommodation
- Park home
- Short term accommodation
Again, this is not an exhaustive list. If you’re not sure check with your council.
Getting A Permit
You’ll find an application form on your local council website. There are generally two options, the self-assessment or full assessment option. Both processes deal with applications to keep livestock in a residential area.
You can complete the form online and return it to your council with the necessary fee. Or, you can go into the council offices and do the same form in person.
You’ll need to declare the types of livestock you’re intending to keep. You’re not usually allowed more than 6 poultry if your land is less than 800m². This goes up to 20 if you have over 800m². If you tick yes to one or more of any livestock you’ll need to have a property identification code. This must be got from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries before you can complete your self-assessment form.
It is worth spending time reading the permit conditions for keeping livestock at home. You will need to have an adequate enclosure built for each type of animal. It must be capable of preventing them from wandering off. The enclosure should also meet current health and safety standards. That means its adequate for the livestock, the waste products are disposed of properly, and it does not adversely affect other homeowners in any way.
In short, the health and safety of the livestock need to be considered as does that of your neighbors. It’s a good idea to speak to your neighbors before you put the application in.
Once you have applied for a permit to keep livestock you’ll have an inspection visit. This will confirm the size of your land and they’ll want to know where the livestock will be kept. You don’t need to have created the enclosures as long as you have a plan of how it will all look and what the enclosures will be made of.
The Follow Up
Being given a permit is only the first stage. You’ll then have to create the enclosures and source the livestock. But, most importantly, you’ll need to adhere to the terms described in your permit.
The council will undertake a yearly inspection to ensure your livestock are being taken care of properly. They are also likely to respond if they receive complaints from neighbors. If they’re not happy you can lose your permit and/or be fined.
The good news is that it is straightforward to get a permit. You do need to ensure any disruption to your neighbors is kept to a minimum. This will help you to get the livestock permit and keep it.
Now all you have to do is learn how to look after the livestock.