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Cultivate Communities is an initiative of Cultivate Farms. In its simplest form, we connect local aspiring farmers with local outgoing farmers, and negotiate farm ownership transition agreements that benefit both parties and have extended benefits to the community and environment. In doing so, outgoing farmers remain a part of their community and connected to their personal history, while using equity in their farm for retirement. The cost barrier to farm ownership is reduced for young, aspiring farmers, and they are provided with the opportunity to remain in and contribute to their community.

Keeping farm ownership local, and young families on farms means leads to thriving regional communities. Through farm ownership, population can be stabilised in regional communities, meaning demand for services such as education and health remains strong, and services continue to be provided for the communities.

Cultivate Farms builds sustainability and biodiversity into all of our operations. Some recent research suggests that younger farmers use farming systems and methods that reduce carbon, improve water quality and increase biodiversity as compared with olde farmers. We also advocate for Natural Capital Accounting methods and use these in our farm transition agreements.

Cultivate Farms has run several models of Cultivate Communities. These models can be used as a stand-alone service, or tailored and combined to best meet specific local needs.

Farm Readiness Training

This program was run in the Herbert Catchment Region in 2020 and 2021. Aspiring farm owners participated in Cultivate Farms ‘Cultivator’ learning program. Each young farmer developed a farm plan, a farm ownership pathway and put together a ‘pitch’ to potential investors and backers. In this supportive learning environment, young farmers identified and approached established farmers in the area to create farm matches

Farm Matching

Cultivate Farms is currently running a matching program with Dairy NSW, with the aim of preventing loss of farms and skills in the industry. Dairy NSW has registered aspiring farmers with Cultivate Farms, providing details of their skill levels, farm readiness and localities. Dairy NSW has also provided details of outgoing farmers to Cultivate Farms. We interview each aspiring and outgoing farmer, and make introductions between parties based on shared values and mutual needs. Cultivate Farms facilitates working agreements between farmers based on land ownership, shared profits and division of labour. These agreements are monitored by Cultivate Farms for one year to ensure workability and mutual benefit.

Train the Trainer

Recognising that local agricultural services and advisors or community leaders are more likely to understand the intricacies of their area, and be known and trusted by local farmers, Cultivate Farms provides a service to professionals in this area. The training helps agricultural service advisors identify opportunities, help to engineer farm matches on a local scale, or know when to refer other experts to assist. In Train the Trainer, local community champions are provided with information on how to run their own information sessions, to recruit and empower aspiring farm owners, and how to identify and approach potential outgoing farmers.

Next Gen Regen

The most ambitious of Cultivate Communities programs, Next Gen Regen involves the establishment of a unit trust fund, with funds sourced from retiring farmers. The trust fund purchases farms in a share farming arrangement with the aspiring farmer. Profits from the farm operations are shared with the fund and the aspiring farmer, with the aspiring farmer using the profit to purchase the land over time. A similar model in northern Tasmania is estimated to have retained $65 million in the local community over 8 years, through prevention of foreign farm ownership.

Our experience shows that a bespoke approach for each community is required, and we encourage community champions to contact us to help design a Cultivate Communities program that works for you and your community.

Further information

Amy Cockroft

0425 805 316