Hamilton is a cool name, so is Ellie, but their passion for farming is the most impressive

Hamilton is a cool name, so is Ellie, but their passion for farming is the most impressive

Hamilton and Ellie both hold a huge passion to own and operate their own farm. They've both worked extremely hard in order to see their dream become a reality and hope that owning a farm isn't "the stuff of unicorns and fairy dust". Their dream farming lifestyle is a mixture of hard work and basking in the fruits of their labour with their surrounding community, down at the local. Magic!

5 takeaways we took from the interview:

  1. Carrathool is not a made up place. It's real. Find it here
  2. Unicorns have magic dust that makes cotton grow good
  3. Their dream of farming might seem like wishful thinking, but they are doing a lot of both and if Cultivate Farms can help it, we'll have them on a farm soon.
  4. Like others we have spoken to they feel that what Cultivate Farms is offering by bringing in investor capital is a bit of a hand out - we see it as venture capital to back great entrepreneurs.
  5. They're nervous about expectations from the retiring farmer in an equity arrangement - i.e. not agreeing on the way forward. We are conscious of that too and are working on ways to ensure all parties know their roles.

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?

Hello! Our names are Ellie Noon and Hamilton Mitchell and we are currently living on Groongal Station at Carrathool in southern NSW. We have both lived and worked in various farming regions in a few different industries and have decided that we want to continue to farm in an area that is diverse and suits sheep production and cropping in either the Riverina or Central West NSW regions.

2. When you walk out onto the front deck of your dream farm house, what sort of farm do you see before you and what work do you have ahead of you for the day?

First of all, after we finish discussing breeding plans for the unicorns that are grazing in the front yard, we would make a plan for the day, coffee in hand.

The plan would probably look something like this:

  1. Fix something that is broken (probably).
  2. Hamilton would do a water run and check that the troughs watering 3000 Merino ewes and their crossbred lambs are all full and working properly.
  3. Ellie would meet the agronomist and discuss irrigation cycles and the up coming needs for the 1000 hectares of cotton that is expected to yield 14 bales a hectare (the unicorns probably sprinkled magic on dust on the plants that night).
  4. Finally finish the day at the local pub catching up with locals whilst having a general merry time.

3. That sounds fantastic! Why do you want to own and operate your own farm? What drives you?

We would love to own and operate our own farm because we live and breathe farming. We both enjoy the opportunities farming offers to work hard and literally see the fruits of your labour. Also knowing that you are the master of your own destiny and own financial freedom is also very appealing.

4. What obstacles are in the way of you achieving your farming dream? How are you going to make your dream a reality?

Hamilton: To be honest the idea of owning enough land to be able to commercially farm is the stuff of unicorns and fairy dust for us. We have both actively pursued ventures to increase our education and experiences in the Ag industry, however, it seems that you need more than a good work ethic, education and experience to own farming land. My working life is a story of a Sydney boy gone bush, so I don't have the opportunity to inherit a family farm. At this stage my ambition is managing a property for someone else in the future.

Ellie: Where as I am off a sheep property in the New England, my family situation is not going to be set up for me to inherit either. I've always known this, so I decided to help other people farm their land and am happy to continue doing irrigated agronomy at this stage.

So with inheriting land off the table, the only other option is to save and hope for a handout or pray for lotto.

We both feel like you should work for what you have so the idea of a handout doesn't sit well with us either. So, given the capital requirements to get a loan to be able to buy farming land, there is no way we could come close to saving enough money from our wages to make this happen.

Potentially having the option of owning and operating our own farm through Cultivate Farms is very exciting for us as it seems like it could actually give us a chance at owning farming land.

5. What benefits could Cultivate Farms offer you?

We both like the idea that Cultivate Farms could have the ability to get more young people into small rural areas. We both love rural Australia and think it's a shame so many areas are dying, as less young people take on family farms. We also like the idea of sharing financial risk with investors and running a farm with the best practices to ensure environmental and financial success.

6. Is there anything about the approach of Cultivate Farms that worries you? Eg. Sharing equity with someone else.

The biggest concerns we have are about conflicts with a retiring farmers family that would result in the sale of their equity and the whole deal falling over. Secondly, about being restricted by a retiring farmer that would want the farm to be run with ideals and practices that didn't match our own farming ambitions.

7. What are the three things Cultivate Farms could do for you right now to make your farming dream a reality?

3 magic wishes!

  1. Access to resources to increase financial literacy related to farming.
  2. Access to leading industry knowledge and innovations.
  3. To be able to network with potential investors and know what they would want or expect.

8. In your opinion, what are the biggest issues facing agriculture in the future?

We actually think there are a few with equal weight.

A lack of funding for Ag research and a lack of skilled labourers.

A prevailing attitude that agriculture is an unskilled and unimportant industry.

Poor consumer awareness of what conventional farming actually entails and how "good" or "bad" it is for human health.