Next generation farmers keen to take the next step in their farm ownership journey are being urged to apply for Cultivate Farms' latest round of their farm ownership program, Cultivator.
Activating aspiring farmers to take their ownership dreams into their own hands, the program guides them through the development of their farm investment proposal, before having the opportunity to pitch to a panel of investors.
Cultivate Farms CEO Sam Marwood said the program provides another possible avenue for farm ownership, which is out of reach for many next generation farmers who aren't going to inherit or don't have the millions of dollars needed to buy in.
"The traditional model of inheriting a farm or applying for a loan to buy a farm is broken," Mr Marwood said.
"Cultivate Farms and Cultivator are offering serious aspirational farmers the skills of an entrepreneur to develop a partnership with investors.
"We know this is a proven, realistic and successful way to get people farming."
The top ten aspiring farmers will have the opportunity to pitch to a panel of investors, with over 20 investors anticipated, at the next Cultivate Farms pitching event in April 2021.
Commencing in February 2021, the program is open to any aspiring farmer in Australia, but the Cultivate Farms team also have a particular focus on farmers in the Great Barrier Reef catchment and specifically the Herbert catchment.
This focus came about following discussions with Lawrence Di Bella from Herbert Cane Productivity Services Limited, who support cane growers in the Herbert catchment.
"He liked what we were doing with matching farmers so we developed a project to matchmake aspiring and retiring farmers in their catchment," Mr Marwood said.
"We were also successful in obtaining a grant from the GBRFoundation to help make matches happen between the generations
"Running a cultivator program with a focus on the Herbert and the broader GBR catchment is part of this work. In addition to pitching to investors, the team will be working to take farm pitches to retirement aged farmers from this region, who are willing to share ownership.
"We're also excited by the idea of helping to support farmers deliver improved water quality outcome for the Great Barrier Reef."
This program will be the fourth, off the back of the success of matching Claire Coates with an investor in 2017, while three 2020 Cultivator graduates are working with investors now after seven aspiring farmers pitched to twelve investors in early November 2020.
The timing of this latest round of the program coincides well with the recent launch of the promised low cost AgriStarter loan by federal government-backed lender, the Regional Investment Corporation.
Mr Marwood said the loan program is another tool that aspiring farmers can use to uncover their farm ownership pathway.
"It definitely isn't a silver bullet, but should be a motivator for aspiring farmers to determine whether it can help get them into ownership," he said.
"First they need a farm plan, then they need to keep uncovering potential partners, and look to opportunities like the Federal Government loan to help get them there.
"We think it has never been a better time for next gen farmers to chase their ownership dream. Of course farms are more expensive, but there are so many ways to make ownership happen - aspiring farmers just need to be aware of them and continually hunting."
Mr Marwood said most importantly, aspiring farm owners need a plan, which is where Cultivator comes in.
For more information about Cultivator, visit www.cultivatefarms.com/cultivator.
Applications from aspiring farmers are open now and close January 30, 2021.