There’s a lot more to farming than watching pigs play in the mud, so taking this giant leap is not to be taken lightly. Here's a few pointers to get started.
The first port of call for finding your dream farm is Safer ( www.safer.fr). The website lists rural properties.
Once you’ve found a place that suits you, the next step is to visit the Chambres d’Agriculture. This public institution represents the interests of farmers. The national website ( www.chambres-agriculture.fr) includes links to your nearest branch. There, depending on the type of farming you want to pursue, you can get help with registration and cheptel (livestock). It is a legal requirement to register any livestock kept on your land. There are high fines for having untagged and unregistered farm animals.
The farming industry in France benefits from often generous subsidies. Information on who is entitled to them and how to apply can be found at www.mesdemarches.agriculture.gouv.fr.
You and your family’s health and medical cover is provided by the MSA (Mutualité Sociale Agricole – www.msa.fr), the farmers’ health insurer. Registration is relatively simple and there are many different levels of insurance cover.
For organic farmers, courses held at the Chambres d’Agriculture detail different controlling bodies offering certification. Each controlling body sends all the information you need about the rules and regulations of how to comply with organic certification, and depending on what your land was previously used for, organic certification can be obtained in as little as a year, with the usual waiting time around three years.
For those who want to sell their meat to the general public, you must contact the Departement Service Sanitaire, information about which can be found at www.agriculture.gouv.fr