WANTED: 100 farms in 100 days for 100 aspiring farmers
The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) is supporting a call for 100 retiring farmers to sign up to a succession planning solution that brings the best aspiring farming families back to rural, regional and remote country towns.
For most people, the dream of being a farmer is out of reach because of the excessive capital requirements to buy a farm. For older farmers with no family successor, who want to step back but see their farm and community continue, the options are also limited.
Cultivate Farms from Albury NSW, provides the perfect answer to these problems and is leading the call for 100 farmers to put their hands up to get involved in supporting the next generation.
As the national winner of the RAI’s Lightbulb Moments competition, which helps regional people turn their bright ideas into reality, Cultivate Farms matches aspiring farmers, farmers stepping back and investors – to own and operate a farm together.
‘We’re thrilled to be recognised, and as passionate advocates for regional Australia we believe we can bring hundreds of young people back onto farms, into communities and back on the netball and football field’ said Sam Marwood, Co-founder of Cultivate Farms.
Selected by a judging panel of five, including Minister for Regional Development, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, Cultivate Farms received project development and mentoring support from the RAI and Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR).
‘As the national winner, Cultivate Farms helps to fill the massive gap in the farm succession planning crisis and gets young farmers onto their first farm’ Minister Nash said.
‘Keeping Australian agriculture strong, profitable and sustainable means we need a new generation of farmers. Access to capital to buy farms has been a long standing issue for the next generation starting out, but Cultivate Farms tackles this challenge head on with its novel and innovative skills development and farm-matchmaking approach’ Minister Nash said today.
RAI CEO Jack Archer, highlights Cultivate Farms is ready for growth having proved its model by successfully connecting young farmers with opportunities to own and manage their own farms.
‘The Cultivate Farms team, including Sam Marwood and Tim and Tegan Hicks, are now looking to partner with more farmers wanting to take a step back, creating a consistent flow of opportunities for the best aspiring farmers to step into’ he said. ‘It’s a great way for farmers to pass on their legacy, stay involved in the farm and have a positive impact on the future of their community by attracting new farming families to town’ he continued.
Cultivate Farms now aims to scale up, actively seeking expressions of interest from farmers.
‘We want to connect with 100 retiring farmers in the next 100 days, so we can bring more young, aspiring farming families back to rural, regional and remote country towns; So if that’s you, or someone you know, we want to hear about it’ said Sam Marwood.
Led by the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) in partnership with PRIME7/GWN7 and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), the Lightbulb Moments program aims to support individuals, community organisations and businesses across regional Australia to turn their ‘bright ideas’ into reality.
The ‘top ten’ entries (in alphabetical order) for the Regional Australia Institute’s 2017 Lightbulb Moments campaign included:
- Cultivate Farms – now seeking farmers wanting to partner with one of the best in the next generation, eventually owning and operating a farm together (Albury, NSW)
- Get a Rural Life – now exploring a pilot social media campaign promoting opportunities and possibilities for young people in regional Australia (Boort, VIC)
- Healthy Tasmania (previously Travel Like a Local) – now actively seeking investment partners to deliver a four hour pilot podcast series, created and produced in Tasmania, helping ordinary people tell their extraordinary stories (Evandale, TAS)
- Heathcote Dementia Village – secured a $150,000 State Government grant as a contribution towards a detailed feasibility study into the development of a state-of-the-art dementia village (Bendigo, VIC)
- Pointer Remote Role (previously Go Remote) – now actively seeking recruitment and employer partners to scale up the pool of professional roles available to people for remote work opportunities in regional Australia (The Rock, NSW)
- Rhythm and Ride (Saltwater Country Inc.) – now working with local government to deliver a sustainable rodeo, music and camp draft event funding model supporting ongoing event and community development activities (Broome, WA)
- Rural Health Connect – now bringing online psychology services via video technology to people in rural, regional and remote Australia (Rockhampton, QLD)
- Smart Small Towns – now collaborating with regional communities to achieve private certification of their commitment to fostering entrepreneurial spirit (Deniliquin, NSW)
- The Australian Girls ESTEAMME Collaborative – now investigating practical options for implementation of the international model for promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths in regional Australia (Rainbow Beach, QLD)
- This Farm Needs a Farmer – now developing a membership base of new farmers and business sponsors creating a viable and scalable social enterprise joining farmers with skills to those that need them (Kyneton, VIC)
‘This is a fantastic example of regional Australians coming up with regional solutions. It’s been a privilege to help select this year’s top 10 and I congratulate all of the individuals and organisations that submitted project ideas, each looking at ways to make rural, regional and remote communities even better and stronger’ said Minister Nash.