Dan and Ali Rollinson are aspiring farmers currently living in Currumbin Valley on the Gold Coast. Their dream farm is somewhere along the Gold Coast (sounds terrible!) or anywhere on the way down to Grafton.
Three takeaways from the interview:
1. Dan and Ali dream of linking their produce (avocados and macadamias) from the farm all the way to the restaurant. Love it
2. In order to get on their farm their options are to get a high paying job and bust our gut to save for a few years or give up on the idea totally and enjoy life working a job. (This is why we setup Cultivate Farms!)
3. They will use Cultivate Farms as a negotiating tool with retiring farmers - they know they can now get the money, it's a matter of finding the farm now.
1. When you walk out onto your deck of your ideal farm house on your dream farm, what are you looking at and what work do you have to do that day?
I would like it to be a view of our vertical integrated business where we have an avocado and macadamia orchard, processing facility, manufacturing shed and a business such as a restaurant or shop to present our produce to the world.
Today I would ring all my managers and get a weekly review and check online for any market activity and look for more land for an expansion project.
2. Why do you want to own and operate your own farm? What is driving you?
I can see that there are opportunities in doing more with a bulk commodity, e.g. niche markets and value adding paddock to plate scenarios which is all consumer driven.
3. How are you going to make your farm dreams a reality? What is holding you back from your dreams?
Winning the lotto would be a great start.
I need to get family support in order for things to happen in a farm purchasing scenario, which I don't think will occur.
I have gone down the leasing and share farming path and have found on a few occasions I lack capital and the landlords just want to sell/retire which means they don't want the hassle.
I would keep trying the share farming idea somewhere or get a high paying job and bust our gut to save for a few years or give up on the idea totally and enjoy life working a job.
4. What do you see as the great things about Cultivate Farms?
At the moment I see it as a negotiating tool or a foot in the door type idea. The biggest hurdle is knowing who to talk to and who is willing to negotiate with you.
5. What are you worried about with Cultivate Farms? e.g. having equity with someone else in the farm.
I think a big risk would be the quality of the applicants, as rural people are trusting people and bad news spreads quicker than wildfire, making sure the applicants are high caliber professionals will ensure success. The purchasing terms and conditions would have to be well designed and contracted.
6. What do you want from an organisation like Cultivate Farms - what are the 3 things they could do for you right now to make your farming dreams a reality.
Create profile to promote to potential investors and retiring farmers
Introduction to farms and retiring farmers
Raise capital to help buy the farm
7. Are their amazing farmers out there that you want to copy from? Who are they and why?
Woods Grain in Goondiwindi (www.woodsgroup.com.au): Their vertical Integration model is excellent.
'The Farm' Byron Bay (http://www.thefarmbyronbay.com.au/): I like their idea of interaction or product and consumer and sell own products on site.
Stahmann Farms in Toowoomba (www.stahmannfarms.com.au): Pecan grower and mac nut processors have a great value adding chain and international marketing prowess.