Raising happy pigs by the coast makes for successful entrepreneurial sea-change
“I never thought I’d be a pig farmer” Selina Smith happily confesses as she and her partner Phil Outtram talk about the recent successes of Long Name Farm, the small business they set up three years ago.
“We were thrilled to be awarded 2017 Small Producer of the Year Award by Sprout Tasmania recently” adds Phil, “and due to achieving our three-year financial goal Selina left her full time corporate job in Hobart and rented her Hobart home out to move full time up here only last week to concentrate on growing the business together.”
Establishing a small business is a challenging and all-consuming endeavour, so it’s always satisfying for our team at WLF to see clients thriving and meeting their goals. Having solid business plans that are ambitious yet achievable, as well as a real passion for your business are crucial for setting up a new venture. It’s also critical to seek the right professional advice, and understand the value that this investment can add to your business and peace of mind.
Phil and Selina are a great example of this. They officially started Long Name Farm on the East Coast of Tasmania on 4 October 2014 when they bought their first heard of free-range rare and heritage breed pigs.
“We chose free-range pig farming as we could see an increase in the demand for locally produced free-range pork. More and more customers want to know where the meat they buy comes from and how it was raised” says Selina, “and it was also a great use of Phil’s 40-acre property which had previously been used for sheep grazing.”
From an initial herd of 12 sows and 1 boar the farm is now running 40 sows and 3 boars supplying free-range pork state-wide.
“We aim to produce pork with full flavour and a uniform meat to fat ratio” says Phil. “We take our time here at Long Name Farm. While most commercial farms focus on selective breeding of fast growing pigs to maximise profit over flavour and animal welfare, we slow the pace. Our breed selection is best suited to free range farming where fat marbling and flavour develops in its own time.”
“We focus on raising happy pigs in a relaxed coastal environment where you can smell the sea. Our pigs are free to roam, play and grow at their own pace in several large wattle paddocks. Their foraged feed is supplemented with a nutritional feed mix we make ourselves from barley, wheat, lupins, protein meal, vitamins, minerals and local Tasman Sea Salt.”
This attention to detail and commitment to long term quality is a big part of Phil and Selina’s business ethos, and something that’s apparent to everyone they work with. We first met Phil and Selina 18 months ago at one of our seminars, and have been delighted to see their business really take off.
Says Selina, “We moved to WLF leading up to our second 2nd financial years return in May 2016. We attended a Xero seminar held by WLF and were impressed with the WLF team and Xero.”
“It was time for a more professional accounting software system as our customer base was growing and old fashion hard copy invoice and expense books were not working well for us, especially when it came to following up payments. Xero accounting system has been an absolute ‘game changer’ for us. Plus, the accounting advice along the way has put us in a good position where we are now breaking even towards the end of our set up phase which was our goal after 3 years.”
“Our accountant Dean Johnson visited us at our farm in Little Swanport at the start to better understand our business operations which we felt showed great respect and commitment to us as clients for the long term.”
As with many small to medium businesses, the end goal for Phil and Selina isn’t just about the financial returns. They are committed to ensuring the size of their herd remains environmentally sustainable with paddock and crop rotations, and have set their next three-year goal to increase production to 500 porkers per annum.
“Currently we supply to restaurants and direct to the public through our Pig in a Box product which can be ordered online. Next year we also aim to branch out and do farm gate markets” says Phil of their immediate plans.
And from a lifestyle perspective, they are delighted to be in a position where they can live on the East Coast in a friendly community with beautiful surroundings.