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Everything posted by Mlonghurst

  1. Did you do much/any research first? About 6 months of in depth research. Was it all plain sailing? In reality yes, hard work and lots and lots of planning but in the end the whole process was really quite simple. What were the fears? The level of paperwork required for farming and the Language. Did you have to change your plans? No, not at all. How did you overcome the problems? We asked for loads of advice and assistance and got it. Did you give up? We are now having to give up farming due to my wife sustaining a very bad long term injury.  But otherwise we would not have given up as business was booming (will not be returning to the UK though)  Would you recommend it? Absolutly Did you do it alone, with a partner. Wife and myself. Could you have managed it alone? No. Was finance a problem? No.
  2. Richard, I should have added (for clarification) that we are also registered as horse breeders and we use CERFrance in the Allier who are specialist Agricultural Accountants.  They have departments who are also Equine Accounting specialists. If you have sufficient land it is also well worth considering applying for farming land subsidies, this year we have recieved 1,900€ for 19HA and we still have another payment to come in Dec this year. Rgds,  Mike L  
  3. Hi Richard, We have been farming here for 3 years now and started off under the same regime as yourself.  You can register as RSA and it is not a problem at all.  Even though our turnover does not force us to register for TVA we were advised last year by our specialist Agricultural Accountants (cost 400€ PA) to register so we could claim back all the TVA we have spent (we are due  for a 2,700€ TVA refund next year) by reinvesting in the farm.  Our tax liability is still calculated on the land area we farm and not actual income so with 19HA being farmed we do not pay tax The process of registering for TVA is very simple and the Accountant did all the paperwork to request the TVA Number etc.    We have to keep reciepts for absolutly everything and they came round to our farm and showed us how they wanted us to keep our paper accounts so that when we submit them they can process them quickly.  We also produce our own Invoices using the computer and again they advised on exactly what information must be on the invoices. Hope this helps. Rgds,  Mike L      
  4. If you leave out this year which has been rather “wet” and not normal, the type of weather we tend to get where I live (Mid Allier) is short very cold winters with clear skies and snow during Feb, followed by a lovely warm spring which hits almost overnight and the grass grows very quickly and all the trees sprout their leaves, a long hot summer with very little rain, short warm Autumn when everyone starts to prepare for winter.   Hope this helps,   Rgds,  Mike L
  5. Mlonghurst


    I breed and train llamas (and train llama owners) for a living and they are extremely intelligent animals and tend to learn quite quickly (I have no doubt that Alpacas do as well but I have never trained any).   If anyone is ever considering buying young llamas, be very wary of getting very friendly young males as they may have been over handled and when they were babies and when they are a large 450 male they could become quite dangerous (known as “berserk male llama syndrome”).  We personally never handle any of our young males until they are 12 months old.   Rgds,  Mike L
  6. We are in the Allier between Moulins and Vichy and have found it a lovely place to live.  We have found the locals to be very friendly, the weather is normally (been quite wet this year) very good with continental seasons and you can get anything you ever need shopping wise from either Moulins, Vichy or Montlucon.   RyanAir are starting flights to Clermont Ferrand again from 1st April 2008.   Rgds,  Mike L
  7. Hi there,   In response to the question regarding private agreements (i.e. formal and informal agreements not involving farmers), I have no idea but would assume that providing the agreement does not involve using the land in any business activity then it should be ok.    I have a copy of a written agreement (in French – an agreement written in English would not be worth the paper it is written on in France – all documentation must be in French) in front of me and the following subjects are covered:   Names and addresses of all parties involved in the agreement Details of the land being rented (this also contains the parcel numbers and exactly how much land is in each parcel and what type of land it is (pastures, woods etc) Duration of the agreement (start and end dates) General Conditions Conditions for termination Payments: This section details the payments to be made and when (for Farmers the payments are calculated via a formula issued by the Prefecture of the Allier (or your Department) and varies according to the type of land being rented. The calculation also takes into account any outbuildings available, water supplies etc  If anyone would like a copy of the contract we use (approved by the MSA) please send me a PM and I will scan it in and send you a copy.  I would have thought that even this document could serve as a basis for creating a private agreement.  Within the agreement you could simply put under the general conditions that each party has the right to give 1, 2 or 3 months notice.  If both parties sign it the it should serve as evidence if things ever went wrong (and if you read some of the French based forums, they often do and with dire consequences).   One thing also worth mentioning is that if you rent land to a farmer and one day you suddenly decide you wish to build on it or apply for busilding permission, the renting farmer can easily block your plans as in effect under French law he decideds what can and cannot be done with the land until the end of the agreement (he may even decided to dump his muck heap there for the next 2 years).   I agree that it is better to pay someone to do something with your land as this is (sounds obvious) a payment for services provided (e.g paying for hay to be cut and baled) and does give the person you are paying an entitlement (otherwise every builder in France would have a claim on your house when he finishes work and has been paid!!!).   I will get one of our friends to contact the MSA and make an informal enquiry as to whether the renting of land issues also applies to private individuals (i.e not farming or business related) and post the result up.   Kind Regards,  Mike L
  8. We are registered farmers and have had quite a few dealings with the MSA regarding the legalities of renting of land. If you allow a farmer (note the word farmer) to utilise your land (no matter whether formaly or informaly) you are effectively giving him rights to farm the land (be this grazing animals, planting crops, growing and cutting hay etc).. If you allow him to graze his sheep or whatever animals on the land or to use for any type of farming activity then you are granting him use of the land.  There does not have to be any type of formal written agreement (although the MSA can draw one up for you at a cost of 32 Euros), the legaly binding agreement is entered into by the action of you granting him access for grazing, growing hay etc.  When we purchased our farm the land was being grazed by a neighbours cattle and had been so for the last 24 years.  Even though no written agreement was in place (only verbal) and no payment was ever recieved by the previous owners, the Notaire still had to get a written agreement from the farmer (and all of his family as well) that they revoked all rights over the land and copies of all these signed statements were handed over with the final contract. It is worth remembering that not all Notairs are totaly up to speed on the complexities of renting land and if in doubt it is worth your while checking on the legalities with the MSA, they are the people who really understand the rules. (Notairs also make mistakes). Having said all this, if you enter into an informal agreement with a farmer over the use of your land and then at some future date things turn bad (sometims people do fall out) or they die and the family take over the ownership and running of the farm, then you could find yourself in trouble should they claim rights over the land.  It would be you that has to try and provide evidence that they had no such right and that you had never granted such rights.  Pretty hard to do if the farmer can say his sheep have been grazing the land with your permission.  It is also worth remebering that if a farmer decides to sell up and move one their farm will be worth more with your land thrown into the sale even if iti s leased. Rgds,  Mike L            
  9. Hi cannot help with the ATE side of life as we are registered horse and llamas breeders (farmers) so different setup. With regards to farriers. Good farriers can be extreemly difficult to find and particularly english speaking farriers (nice to know what they are saying about your horse).  We used a french farrier when we first arrived and it quickly became apparent that he did not have a clue what he was doing and almost gave himself a heart attack trying to trim our Clydesdale Stallion.  In the end we told him to stop as he was going to end up badly damaging the horses hoof (no hoof no horse) and himself.  We now have a dutch farrier who is excellent and knows what he is doing. We do not shoe our horses and we pay 100 Euros for 5 Clydesdales to be trimmed (properly).  When he did our freinds horse he charged 60 Euros to trim and shoe (percheron X). If you go to www.equineonline.net you may get some answers there as a few of them run trekking and horse riding centres. Hope this helps Rgds,  Mike L        
  10. I have just finished registering our business for a .fr domain name and it is relatively streight forward providing your business is formaly registered (and you have a siret number).  However, I have read that in June the gates will open and anyone in france will be able to register for a .fr domain name providing they are french resident (how will they check that?).  Kind Regards,  Mike L
  11. ".......only I can not see why when anyone comes over to France that the incap. benefit should follow,and why should the UK tax payer pay for some one to live in France? " The simple answer to this is that both the UK and France are part of the EU and have bilateral agreements which cover this and these agreements have been in place for many years now.  People need to stop thinking UK and France when discussing issues like this and start thinking EU member states.  The Governments of both France and the UK wanted to join the EU and agreed to a bilatteral system.  I live in France permenantly but still pay UK taxes on my military pension.  I could well ask why I should be paying tax to support people in a country where I no longer live but I do not (I by the way am not on any form of income support but my wife is permanently disabled for life) because as far as I am concerned england, Scotland, wales and Northern Ireland are simple member states of the UE. It is also worth noting that the majority of people claiming incapacity benefit also paid into the UK system for many years before they moved and so the UK should continue to pay them so long as they continue to reside within an EU Country.  Rgds,  Mike L
  12. I think that 30 Euros a year is actualy quite generous.  We farm over in the Allier with 32Acres and rent an additional 5 Acres from freinds.  The rate for rental is officialy set by SAFER and we pay 30 Euros a year for 5 Acres. Rgds,  Mike L    
  13. I am afriad that there is no requirement to have a CT on a trailer.  I have a 3.5 Ton Richardson Horse Trailer with a Cart Griss and there is no requirement to have a CT done.  Check on your CG and if there is a CT requirement the date will be under entry (X.1).  If it is blank - no CT req.   Regards,  Mike L
  14. Read the topic "land lease dispute" in this area posted on 2/10/2005.  As a farmer who rents land I would advise you to be extreemly cautious and certainly do not accept any form of payment or agree to anything untill you have checked the situation with a Notair.  Unless you are very very careful you could end up effectively renting out your land for life and giving up any sort of control. Rgds,  Mike L
  15. Hi there,   I have only just seen you request so a bot late.  There is a lady that breed Leonburgers in the Allier.  I know that there is a waiting list and I would hgave thought that the purchase price would be quite expensive and their upkeep due to their massive size.   I you are still interested I will seek out her web address for you.   Rgds,  Mike L
  16. Hi Emma & David, Mike & Sue here.  We live on a 32Acre Farm breeding Clydesdale heavy Horses and Llamas over in Meillard 13 miles north west of you.  There are a few Brits dotted about up here, Colin (Carpenter) and Sue 7 km away, Chris and Dom 3 km away (they run a small Brewery in Treban...really great beer and they teach both English and French).  We have poped down to Varennes-Sur-Allier on a couple of occassions and thought it was a really nice place. If ever you decide to pop up this way feel free to give us a call and pop in for a drink and a chat.   Best Regards,  Mike & Sue  
  17. It will depend on the weight of the trailer and the type sizes.  We havea rice richardson horse trailer with 165R13C 94/92N tyres and the normal pressure for these is 62PSI.  Rgds,  Mike L    
  18. Hi, I use 3D Home Architect Professional 5.0 and it will do everything you need.  You can build the house, add walls, floors, ceilings, roofs, beams etc.  You can also see the plan or look at it 3D and pan around it.   What you can do when you have finalised your plans is then export the drawings into a format which can be accepted by your architect and he can then make any final adjustments and submit them for planning.  You will need a professional architect to do the final plans if you are renovating a whole building. Hope this helps.   Mike L    
  19. I recieved one of the e-mails some weeks ago and being that this is my (or used to be) domain (IT Security), I decided to test their system.  The whole thing actualy points to false web sites set up in Russia (if you click on the links and watch the IE top bar you will see that it flashes up details of a Russian registered domain first). They obviously did not like what I told them to do with their scam and tried sending me loads of e-mails with trojans, viruses etc.  Then they followed this with e-mails telling me that my e-mail account was being closed etc etc etc.  Funny, but why would a French ISP send an e-mail header in English...these guys are pretty good but not that good. Rgds,  Mike L
  20. Hi, “At the moment, we only have 3 stables and 8 acres which are private.  Would we then need to do some farming training or something just to run a stable yard?” As for training, I am not sure that running a Livery Yard requires training, a Stud however does (there are a number of courses they run…we did not do these as we were breeders before we moved, also most of them seemed to focus of artificial insemination…Clydesdales do not take to this very well and we breed the horses the natural way…not sure I would want to get within 30’ of our Clydesdale Stallion and the mares when they get going).   The question of qualification and training for Livery Yards is probably better answered by someone who already does the same on an above board basis.  There are some people I know that do these things on the QT but I do not advocate in France and if ever there was a problem (horse injured/dead etc) they and you would not have a leg to stand on. I will ask on the other forum as there is a dedicated Horse Section now and loads of experience there. If anyone can advise please. Rgds, Mike L
  21. I totaly agree.  Without Onspeed my 28kb connection would be useless.   Regds, Mike L
  22. Hi Steve, My wife and I did exactly the same thing last year, selling our 10Acre farm in Wales and we now live on a beautiful 32 Acre farm in the Allier.  We set ourselves up as breeders of Clydesdale horses and Llamas and during the registration process (which can be complicated unless you have someone who speaks fluent french) we also registered to run Gites (on the farm) and grow veg and plants.  Doing things this way ensure that we then do not have to re-apply to do the other things later (complicated). The most important thing for most people to understand is that the cottisations can be quite hefty (for Sue alone it is approx 4,500 Euro's PA) and then you have all the insurances.  Our insurance is with AXA and this covers the house, outbuildings, tractor and implements and all the animals (but not VETs fees) and includes 3'rd party liability (if someone is daft enogh to walk across the flields when our stallion is with the mares!!!). Large bales of Hay here come in at 32 Euro's per bale and Straw is the same.  We grow all our own hay and the farmers next door cut and store it for us free of charge.  When looking at farms, check the fencing as it is certainly not up to the standards we were used to in wales and we are currently spending approx 4,000 Euros setting up high powered electric fencing (sufficient to keep our stallion from the mares) as the horses can simply push the existing fencing over.  Also check that you have a well or other water source otherwise the yearly water bill can be very high (all water except wells etc is metered in France). As we had farmed and bred horses and llamas in the UK for 5 years we did not need to provide evidence of any farming qualifications. We plan to knock down the smallish wooden buildings we currently have and build a concret block based set of 12 stables next year and then do livery.   Regards,  Mike L          
  23. Hi, After reading that the current talks with Atlatic Air have broken down. I read in the english language newspaper that I purchased 2 weeks ago that 2 x budget airlines are currently talking with C-F and that there is optimism that a deal can be reached whereby they will start flights in early 2006. It would be so nice not to have to drive to Limoges or St Etinen to catch a flight.   Rgds, Mike L  
  24. Hi, Mike & Sue.  We are a fair ways north of you in Meillard, Allier (Between Moulins and St Purcain-sur-sioul.  Been here since Jan 2005 and breed Clydesdale Heavy Horses and Llamas.  Quite a few english speakers around here (French and english).  If ever you want to pop over for a chat and glass of wine or cup of tea, you are always welcome. Regards,  Mike L
  25. Hi, We have already started the process of registering our Rice Richardson Horse trailer and will keep you posted.  Rice Richardson do not export or have offices in france and therefore can provide no Cert of conformity. We went down to the DRIRE and gave them a picture (brochure) with all the tech specs on and also some paperwork (in French and german) which specifies the breaking systems conformance with EU requirements. The lady at the DRIRE has sent all the documents off and will phone us back soon!!!!!!!!! Our problem now is that as we have re-registered our car onto French plates we cannot tow the trailer which is still on UK plates (against the law here). Will keep you posted. Regards,  Mike L
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