Francisco Lopera

1. Introduction

Francisco has spent his life working with his father on the farm and providing agricultural services to third parties. After his father retirement, he decided to take over the business and introduced major changes, including new investments and reducing operating costs. Within the family the process has been satisfactor; however, a bad experience with the bureaucracy would make him rethink the procedure if he started again.

2. Promoter Profile

Name Francisco Lopera
Age 33
Gender Male
Education Business training, new business set-up courses, courses of agricultural specialization, tasting, labour risks prevention.
Marital Status Common law partner
Children 1 children: 1 year old

3. Farm Profile

Address Higuera de Calatrava
Farm Area in ha 55 ha
Date since when the family owns the farm Unknown
Nº of workers on the farm (Family members) Francisco (Full time) 1 (Part time)
Nº of workers on the farm (Other than family members) 1 (Full time) 20 (Part time)

Farm description BEFORE succession

The farm has been in his family at least since Francisco´s great-grandfather on his mother side. His grandfather managed the farm until Francisco`s father became part of the family and began to run the business and provide agricultural contract services using grain harvesters in Andalusia and Castilla. They always tried to adapt machinery to the times, and they were who implanted irrigations in their permanent crops. For the commercialization they worked with both cooperative and private factory.

Farm description AFTER succession

Francisco decided to leave the contract sevices, using combine harvesters because they were not profitable, nowadays there is less cereal cultivation and the activity requires heavy investments. In addition to maintaining the land previously under cultivation, Francisco has increased the crop area by leasing new land. He has also decided to increase the volume of professional services he provides to other farmers in the area. Given that he keeps more land, he needs to hire more people each year. He is attempting to harvest early, focusing on quality product, despite the fact that the market does not value it sufficiently in terms of price differential. He is considering getting into integrated production. He has reduced phytosanitary treatments by looking for the best time to carry them out, which has allowed him to maintain plant health and reduce costs. They have acquired new machinery such as a better tractor, a mince machine and a shovel. He has increased sales to private factories, reducing his contribution to cooperatives.

4. Succession Process

Since childhood Francisco has helped his father on the farm and with the harvester. Coinciding with the retirement and illness of his father, Francisco proposed to him that he (Francisco) become self-employed and begin to manage the family farm. Since then his father has supported him in the decisions and encouraged him to make new investments. He applied for set-up grants in 2008, but did not receive any until 2010. He completed the set-up process in 2015. This involved a lot of paperwork for transferring the farm. He also applied to `RDP improvement plans´, so the volume of bureaucracy was huge. If could do it all over again, he would notn go about it in the same way. He would not apply for grants. He thinks that what you win on one side, you lose on the other.


  • The oversupply of harvesting services has made them focus on agricultural services only in their area and abandon the cereal harvester.
  • The cooperatives generate problems in the economic management of the professional farms. Work with a cooperative involves higher costs, loss of control of your business and less self-management of your liquidity.
  • Excessive bureaucracy, legislative limitations and public control that hinders professional activity discourages many young farmers. They need advice and work from agrarian organizations for better guidance.
  • In the case of applying for grants, without help from the family it is difficult to comply with the business plan and maintain a sustainable farm. The acquisition of equipment rather than land, which is very expensive, stimulates efficiency rather than volume.
  • There are limitations on the type of contract for renting land, sharecropping is not allowed in some cases, so more flexibility is needed. Holders do not want to transfer their CAP entitlements.

Main Training/Skills/Competences

  • Even theoretical courses are useful. More courses are needed, but they should be adapted to each case. Real simulation of your case.

  • Courses in marketing, design and adaptation of product to demand.

  • Knowledge of taxation, details on the legal forms that impact the business.

  • Importance of expert and professional advice for finding opportunities.

“Need to be informed before making any decision, you will not be attracted by the possibility of profit. You should study your case and know what you are exposed to and the expenses and taxes that the process is going to involve. Family support, both economic and emotional, is needed.”

Francisco Lopera

5. Considerations, skills/competences and queries/questions