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The Rural Consultant Ltd

Michael Mack is an independent consultant for farming and rural businesses who want to face the future with confidence.

Call today for a free, no obligation conversation about your business ideas and challenges.

Michael Mack, independent consultant specialising in business and charity performance, farm diversification and succession planning.

As a trained agricultural economist with over 20 years of experience in supporting businesses through their challenges, I have built a wealth of knowledge in this field.

As an independent consultant, I work closely with farming businesses, charities, and families to help them add value to their operations. 

My work covers a range of challenges, including diversifying income streams, managing family issues, planning for succession, developing strategic plans, and securing grant funding.

My current and recent clients include the Family Mediation Trust, Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, Department for Education, A D Harvey, and the Prince's Charitable Trust. I was also awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship, sponsored by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, which allowed me to study the processes and systems adopted by the next generation of farmers.

In addition to my consulting work, I have served as a magistrate for over 16 years and sit on the Family Mediation Standards Board for the Family Mediation Council. I also act as a Trustee for the Otter Trust and am a member of Anglia Rural Consultants.

Farm diversification, farm retail, tourism, succession planning.


Support for farms during the planning, setting up and management phases of diversification is essential. My approach aims to give the business owner, and team, the skills needed to take the business forward.


Dealing with succession planning can be scary for all involved. I will support and guide you and your family throughout the process, a critical step to a successful outcome for the family and business.


With extensive experience in securing funding for farms and rural businesses, offering support in identifying new income streams and navigating the complex funding landscape, I have a successful track record in managing DEFRA grants and securing funds from programs such as LEADER, Growth Fund, and Productivity Fund,


Farm shops, farmers' markets, on site vending and events all offer real opportunities for farmers to add value to their produce and location. But how do you go about it to ensure you make a profit?


Ideas come from being able to challenge the way you look at a problem. Through running tailored training courses, inspirational presentations to groups and farming clubs, or speaking on conference platforms, I aim to encourage attendees to implement meaningful change within their business.


Many small businesses often need support at key times to achieve growth. Businesses may be struggling, be between managers or looking for some strategic guidance to improve performance. In each of these cases I can help you to implement business strategies that achieve improvements in performance.


Managing a charity is a complex challenge for trustees; often trying to balance budgets while increasing the impact can limit a charities potential. I have a proven track record in grappling with these issues and creating strong, viable, growing charities.

The Future of Farming: The Cost of Gifting a Farm to the Next Generation
1 min read

Gifting a farm can be a complex process with hidden costs, such as capital gains tax, stamp duty, and transaction fees. It's important to understand the full cost of gifting a farm to ensure the long-term success of the business. This blog explores the different factors to consider when gifting a farm.

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Top Tips for Dealing with Conflict in a Family Farming Business
1 min read

Conflicts within a family farming business can be challenging, but they can also be resolved through effective communication, clear roles and responsibilities, and a willingness to work together. Follow these top tips to minimize conflicts and ensure the success of your family farming business.

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Why the Older Generation in Family Farms in England Avoids Succession Planning.
1 min read

Expert analysis on why the older generation in England's family farms refuses to deal with succession planning, including research and case studies

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2 min read

Conflict is a normal, can you work with it to grow your business?

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1 min read

Why Christmas is not the time to talk about succession for farming families.

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"We are already very grateful for Mike’s support in coaching and advising, but even more importantly, working on the financial planning and forecasting just when we needed it, drawing on his extensive experience in rural development. He continues to play an important part of our professional team to call on when needed."

Ideas for a successful diversification project, these are real life case studies of Michael's work across Britain.

 Michael has worked with Old Hall Farm for over 18 months providing strategic support to Rebecca and Stuart. This work began with them when they had just 7 cows and the idea of starting a new farm shop. During this time Michael has written business plans, drafted the planning justification statement and finally helped the family to secure grant funding. The farm shop and café is currently being built, cow numbers have increased and the business is selling amazing raw Jersey milk. 

Old Hall Farm
Planning, Grant Support, Farm Retail

 Shropshire dairy farmers, Linda and Roger Edwards, set out to create a new income stream to the farms dairy to enable them to reduce reliance on milk sales. The grant application and planning approval had stalled. Michael was brought in to drive forward the grant application which was secured for a new campsite. Michael then pulled together the planning application process to drive the application forward to a successful outcome. The campsite build is just starting. 

Linda Edwards
Tourism, Planning, Grant Funding

 Tim and Sue had developed an idea to create a new farm shop, bakery and café on their farm at Long Crendon Manor. Michael was initially asked to build a business case to back up the loan application through the AMC. Through the use of benchmarked data and local research a full set of financial data was prepared and used to successfully secure the loan funding. During the drafting of the business proposal, Tim found that being able to discuss ideas and thoughts through with Michael was a very effective way to both keep the business focused and to make effective decisions. The bakery and farm shop are now open and the café is close to completion. 

Long Crendon Manor
Business Planning, Mentoring, Loan Application

 Blackheath Farm had worked for over a year to review its water security issues and to gain planning consent for a new 150,000 m3 reservoir for its farm on the Suffolk coast. Due to project delays, the opportunity for grant funding under the Productivity Grant was significantly time bound. I was invited to write the grant application and support it through the process with the RPA. The project secured grant support at 40% and is currently being constructed. 

Blackheath Farms llp
Irrigation, Productivity Grant, Suffolk, Farm, Agriculture

 Over the last 3 years Michael has worked with the Trust and its predecessor organisations to help guide it through the challenges of a small charity. During this time he has enabled the charity to expand regionally, develop new delivery functions as well as merging two two charities. Over this time the Charities have seen an increase in the number of clients being worked with and a growth in the businesses reserves. 

The Family Mediation Trust
Charity, CEO, Leadership, Governance

 Working for the Department of Education we were charged with conducting a Feasibility Study for the Purchase of a Farm for a Specialist Free School in Kent. The objective of the study was to perform a thorough evaluation of the proposed project, including a close examination of the business plan and conversations with relevant personnel. The aim of the study was to produce a comprehensive and thorough appraisal of the application, with a clear understanding of the potential advantages and disadvantages of purchasing a farm for the specialist free school. Michael utilized his team of experts to approach the project with a comprehensive method, combining their technical expertise with practical experience to provide an impartial and well-informed analysis of the proposal. 

Department for Education
feasibility study, farm purchase, specialist free school, Kent, Department of Education, business plan, key personnel, appraisal

"Mike worked with us to enable us all to speak about what the farm meant, what sort of hold it had over us and also what we wanted from the future."

  • Norfolk, England, United Kingdom