This is the story of one of the Cultivator participants. His name is Brett Tunstall.
Hear his inspiring story as he tells us about his farming journey until the day that he decided to step up and make his dream into reality, and joined the Cultivator Program.
My dream of farm ownership began decades ago in New Zealand when I owned a 10acre lifestyle block on the edge of town in Rotorua. I leased the paddocks to a dairy farmer neighbour who started my farm apprenticeship.
I had never owned acreage, and the battleship grey Massy Ferguson T28 from 1955 sealed it. - The guttural throb of that old girl could be heard for miles, and my love for the environment combined to set a seed in motion that has evolved into today’s passion and drive.
I started approaching honey producers about six years ago to establish manuka honey plantations. I then became the plantation manager for a company setting up plantations and honey sales of high-grade manuka honey.
What I learned at the time was that I was currently in the perfect location to take all of the natural advantages of these plantations, the best clonal stock in the country and turn a farm into the highest grade manuka honey in the world and do it sustainably. I found an interested party through that company, and with my father and this investor, we purchased a farm in central Queensland and did our first planting.
Nine months later, it was apparent the investor wanted to head in a different direction, and the operation ceased, however the property isn’t being worked . So, it is a dream but has also been a reality that has driven me for the last three years to fill in some skill and knowledge gaps and get ready to go again.
I first contacted Sam some five and a half years ago at Cultivate Farms and helped develop the Cultivator program, as it is now known, by participating in the first pitching program.
It was a challenge that stretched me - going through the process of finding an investor, setting the property up from a completely blank canvas, and planting the first 5000 plants during drought. When the investor pulled the pin not long after, it was quite a mental rollercoaster - after all the work I had done physically and mentally to educate my father and the investor on numerous fronts.
This experience showed me how I would do it differently and the value I needed to place in myself.
Since that time, I have been weed spraying in my own business and getting back into running my own business and land management. What I have done for my clients has helped add a more profound knowledge to my overall skill set.
The Cultivator program has been hugely helpful in gaining the confidence to prepare a pitch document. This includes the time and space to think about the type of structure and investment I would like and refine the farm operation to have a better overall balance.
The first cultivator program pushed me into the space of being confident to talk about my story. My experiences since that program four years ago have now rounded out my practical side of the equation. This current Cultivator program fills in what I think are the last gaps of knowledge regarding the farm financials and what investors look at when they see a proposal.
If you are interested in connecting with Brett contact us.