A popular farm diversification route Over the last couple of decades the farming community has been forced to think of other ways of making money because of the low prices of cereals and other arable crops. Among the many ideas that farmers came up with, the use of old farm buildings as converted stables and fields for grazing paddocks has become a popular one. These livery yards have grown extensively over the county and now many farms have livery yards as part of their businesses. However modern farm livery yards can be fraught with problems if not properly organised and set out. The different types of livery yard have different needs in terms of their management. Full livery yards where horses are stabled, fed and looked after by the owner of the yard need a properly structured written agreement, not necessarily expensive, but well thought out so that it can be turned to in times of difficulty. Other less involved livery yards, so called 'DIY livery', require less detailed written agreements that will nevertheless need to clearly state where the parties stand with regard to their respective obligations. Adequate consideration will first need to be given to how issues such as horse welfare and health and safety are to be addressed in the agreement, as well as what services the customers should expect to receive for their money. This does not mean that every rule needs to be reduced to writing and rigidly enforced. Rather, a general principle of acceptable behaviour can be embodied within the agreement in the interests of brevity. Of course, with many farms and businesses a lot of rules are verbally agreed and generally adopted without any problem, and these rules can be reinforced with proper signage and other forms of prior notification. However, it is the principle of a written agreement which helps bind these rules and indications together, to create a workable basis for conducting business. For additional information please contact David Springett of Gepp & Sons. The above is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.