Helping young people acquire land

Helping young people acquire land


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After being told by his parents that their dairy farm would not be passed down, Sam Marwood started a company that sets up opportunities for young people to own a farm.

SAM Marwood, 33, is setting up opportunities for young people to run their own farms in their 20s.

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COMMUNITY BENEFIT: Sam Marwood believes increasing the number of young people running farms will be beneficial to retiring farmers and the broader rural community.

COMMUNITY BENEFIT: Sam Marwood believes increasing the number of young people running farms will be beneficial to retiring farmers and the broader rural community.

Mr Marwood grew up on a dairy farm north of Bendigo, and said he assumed from a young age that it would be passed down to him.

“I remember at the age of eight, I was walking back from the dairy with Dad, and I looked up and said ‘Dad when do I get the farm?’, and he said ‘you’re not getting the farm, Mum and I are selling it, how else would we retire?’” Mr Marwood said.

“I must have intuitively known that unless you inherit a farm, you’re never going to be able to afford to buy one, so from that age, I knew I would never be a farmer.”

There’s something about farm ownership that is really exciting to a lot of people. - Sam Marwood, Cultivate Farms

Mr Marwood was interested in the environment, so after finishing high school studied environmental science at university, and proceeded to work in the industry for about 12 years.

This was until meeting up with friend Tim Hicks, who had been facing a similar dilemma.

“We were just talking about business ideas, and he said ‘all I want is to be a farmer, but I can’t, what if there was some sort of business that bought farms for young people?’” he said.

“And this just took me back to when I was eight, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea.”

Since that discussion two years ago, Mr Marwood, Mr Hicks, and Mr Hicks’ wife Tegan, launched Cultivate Farms, a business that matches young farming families with investors and retiring farmers, to help them own and operate a farm.

ACQUIRING FARMS: Sam Marwood and co-founder Tegan Hicks are in the process of acquiring this property in Wirlinga, NSW, for Mrs Hicks and her husband Tim to run.

ACQUIRING FARMS: Sam Marwood and co-founder Tegan Hicks are in the process of acquiring this property in Wirlinga, NSW, for Mrs Hicks and her husband Tim to run.

“There’s something about farm ownership that is really exciting to a lot of people,” Mr Marwood said.

“We think we could put farming back up the top of the career option list for anybody, by opening up access to capital from investors.”

He said this option could be beneficial to retiring farmers too.

“This could be a new succession option for retiring farmers who might not have kids, or who don’t want to pass the farm down,” he said.

“My parents could have taken up an offer like this, because the main thing they wanted at the time was cash flow, so this way they could have sold half the farm, and kept the other half.”

He said working with young people to increase their farming opportunities would be beneficial to regional communities too.

“Young people are the future, they’re the ones that have kids that go to schools, and that become a part of the community,” he said.

“Everyone talks about needing more capital and needing more young people, but they never have a solution to these problems, we’re really excited that we might be able to offer something.”

He said the company is only in its early stages, but has so far been contacted by over 100 young people.

“I think it will only be a matter of time before we get thousands of people wanting to be farmers.”

*See video online at www.stockandland.com.au

Sam Marwood, 33, is setting up opportunities for young people to own farms in their 20s.
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