What is stopping aspiring farmers signing up to cultivate farms?

What is stopping aspiring farmers signing up to cultivate farms?

Cultivate Farms

We asked our Facebook followers what is stopping them from signing up as a member with Cultivate Farms and we had a lot of great answers. We decided to pull a blog post together with our responses to them. 

Please do consider becoming a free or premium member as this helps you to maximise your chances of owning a farm and helps us to build momentum by showing the rest of Australia that there are amazing next gen farmers ready to get on farms across the country.

Response 1:

"As an existing farmer, fear of the arrangement going bad, damage to our breeding stock, business reputation or farm through lack of experience or neglect.”

 Response 2:

 “Generally motivation is more value than experience so long as you are observant and notice when something's not right.”

Cultivate Farms: 

love this discussion feed. We are definitely focused on relationships first. Both parties have to get along and both have to be united in the vision for the farm. From there details can be worked through and we have a great chance of a win-win outcome for everyone. Please let me know if you’d like to chat Burke.

Response 3:

“So many stories of partnerships gone wrong. The key is in the detail and working relationship.”


Response 4:

“I'd love to one day but not quite experienced enough... It's a bit of a double-bind situation - needing land to get experience, needing experience to get land... I wonder if there are others in the same boat?”


Cultivate Farms: 

Lyb Maree this is fair enough. We do have a big focus on inspiring farmers to follow their farm ownership dreams. At the very least you can be inspired that there are pathways. If you sign up as a free member you can at least have your name out there and who knows what farmers might want to back you. Thoughts?”


Response 5:

“ Cultivate Farms I like this idea! Would farmers be open to an idea of perhaps, providing a 'training' or intro to those who are unsure... I thinking farmers or people who have succeeded in their Cultivate experience you have had success to peer support to those who are unsure? Not sure about my question really.”


Cultivate Farms: 

Bonnie Millen yeah choosing your farming preference is hard. But life is long and you have time to explore. Try and see how it goes I reckon.Maybe you’re after an internship? Most farmers we talk to just want someone who is willing to work hard and who are open to learning. So you should definitely put your hand up for Farms you like.


Response 6:

“ There has been only been one farm that we see that we were interested in but the stipulation was a 2 year get you ready and then we will see. Been trying to get on a farm for many years and tried different ways but in the end, the farmers want more than stock was worth and would of been on back foot (making a loss) from the start. If felt like they were just looking for a good worker and this was the carrot to get them and in the end you could waste 2 yrs and they say no. Also many want to stay on farm, we work and live on the farm we manage as that is required and cannot see how it would work properly if we had to live off farm. Love the concept but struggling to see how it would work out in the long term when you don’t have a lot of capital up front.”


Cultivate Farms: 

it is definitely a case by case thing. But persistence is key as you never know when a great opportunity will come. Like anything in business, if you stick at it, and people are watching and they are impressed by you, then opportunities come. This is the story of us starting Cultivate Farms. We have just been persistent with our vision and we are getting matched happening and momentum is building. Thoughts?


Response 7:

“With the current drought in showing no signs of ending any time soon, I’m pretty happy to be paid to work on a farm and not trying to get one going. Basically financial suicide taking on a new farm now in this area at least.”

Response 8: 

“ Yes, drought and climate change. Today Melbourne announced the order to run the desalination plant because of low water levels in dams. At the moment I’m only prepared to put my money in a native crop that is more tolerant but carries more market risk. As experienced as the retiring farmer may be, practices like regenerative ag and poly cropping to build resilience to climate fluctuation are not mainstream.”

Response 9: 

“ Yes it’s probably going to be a more tricky sell to a lot of farmers. Growing monoculture crops and set stocking is still the mainstream ag being taught to kids doin ag at uni.”


Cultivate Farms: 

yep, some locations in Australia are riskier than others for farming and you need to be confident where you go and then have risk plans in place.

Response 10:

“I haven't seen any farms in wa that would suit our needs.”

Response 11: 

“I’m also didn’t see many farms in VIC - chicken and egg problem! But I really just need a kick up the butt to get over the hurdle.

Response 12:

I do worry that no farmers will like my background as I’m not fourth generation like my current mentor.”


Cultivate Farms: 

A lot of what we talk about is jumping at opportunities and putting your hat in the ring. You can’t double guess what the other party might say about you. Unless you apply for a farm, you never know. Let them say no, not you. I don’t think your background matters - what does matter is your passion and drive and attitude and your own farming track record. Thoughts?

Response 13: 

“I'm first gen Aussie farmer. Family had farms in South Africa. I can here when I was 6 so don't have accent or anything. Been working and managing farms for 17 years. I've had one retiring farmer offer something similar to this as an option but it turned out he was stringing me along and the property wasn't his to offer. So I need to see a lot more farms get past on through this system before I will part with my $.”


Cultivate Farms: 

sorry to hear you had a bad experience with that retiring farmer. So much of what we are doing is about trust and building relationships before jumping into something legally. Please do sign up as a free member mate so you can be notified of farms. Also a lot of retiring farmers and investors are checking or database and picking farmers they’d like to work with

Cultivate Farms:

We do continue to hunt but are limited by supply. Keep spreading the word so that more farmers consider loading their opportunity with us.

Response 14: 

Is it buyers or sellers that are not signing up? Or both?

Response 15:

For me the maths hasn't added up, need to make sure we can make a living and pay for the farm The agreements posted are often unclear and complicated.


Cultivate Farms: 

Fair enough. Would love you to highlight one of the deals that is complicated. We focus on giving basic details on the farm and no being too prescriptive as we are focusing on building relationships. From there you should be able to jointly find a win win arrangement. It sounds like you have ideas and becoming a premium member would allow us to chat and work through how you can find opportunities that will meet your needs


Response 16:

“I’d love to have a farm but we are low income earning family that can’t afford the membership price. We are saving every little bit on our future. The other thing is people I know want mixed farms with free choice as to what animals and how many, more like a homestead. I know our family want a homestead mixed farm with a range of animals. Also its new


Response 17:

“We too are a low income family and I work full time managing a farm already.

We don’t have a spare dollar to go towards a farm and most of our spare time is spent with our children.

Not to mention lease or agistment options in our area hugely expensive and as rare as hens teeth.

At this stage I don’t see us own a serious commercial farm in the next 20 years, if at all.”

Response 18:

“what about share farming?”

Response 19:

“Been there got fkd over last two years in a row! don’t do it!”


Cultivate Farms: 

thanks for your feedback. Please do sign up for free membership so you can be notified of opportunities. We send a lot of farms to our members as the farmers don’t want us to promote too widely. Good point as well about this being new. We know we need to get more case study matches over the line to give more people confidence to get involved. It feels like how online dating websites must have felt 15 years ago!

Cultivate Farms: 

please do sign up as a free member Brad. Opportunities could come along which meet your needs.

Response 20:

“Its also many people want the freedom of mixed farming the homestead like farm. Investors also scare people. The business talk gets scary”


Cultivate Farms: 

can understand investors is scary and not for everyone. Working with retiring farmers is just as good an option.


Response 21:

“Drought, activists against farmers, low market price for product thanks to free trade, low income margins, remote locations and if you take on someone else’s farm having to run it their way at least until their current supply contracts run out. The more I write the more I think”do I really want to do this? Is this the best move for my family?”


Cultivate Farms: 

all great points Tim. It is hard being a farmer and you do need to know if you really want it as it’s hard getting up every day to do something you don’t want to. We are advocates for knowing your risks before jumping into any farm opportunity. The farm has to have a good shot at being profitable. Did you find an answer to your question about whether you do want to own your farm?


Response 22:

“Fear of the unknown?”


Cultivate Farms: 

yep that is a big one for life and in any business. Is this fear in the farm opportunity or the farmer you might have to work with? What could we do to reduce the fear?


Response 23:

“Offer a monthly membership option as it’s too expensive for some”


Cultivate Farms:

it is free to pitch for a farm. We just require farmers create a free profile as part of applying so that retiring farmer can see information about you. Will think about a monthly premium membership option.


Response 24:

“I am interested but need the skills. I also need to feel confident in making the jump as I don't come from a farming background but keen to learn”


Cultivate Farms: 

Bonnie Millen do you feel confident there is a pathway to realise your farm ownership dream?


Response 25:

“I know you are only able to offer certain farms, and most of the ones that we see are very alternate, or non-conventional, which is fine, but to be honest with you, I think that 90% of the people that would be signing up are looking for conventional beef/sheep/ cropping properties. I am aware that you do still provide a service if the potential buyer brings in a farmer who is also keen to use your service, however they are quite hard to find.”

Response 26: 

“Interesting! My passion and business is native foods but maybe I’m that 10%.”

Cultivate Farms:

hey. We have no restriction on the size or type of farm. Only restricted by the farms that come to us and most have been smaller. It is definitely hard to find farm opportunities but hopefully as word spreads about what we are doing, retiring farmers will be more willing to chat to us to see how we can find them a top gun farmer.

Response 27:

“Because there is no longer any money to be made and all the vegan activists have been given too much power.”


Cultivate Farms: 

We are bit more positive mate. Vegans still need farms to grow the veggies on.

Read the full thread here: https://www.facebook.com/Cultivatefarms/photos/a.1818541248440188/2019151435045834/?type=3&theater