Freeland Pork secures own farm through Cultivate Farms and Odonata

Sam Marwood
Sam Marwood

What began in Albury when Tim and Tegan Hicks started talking about farm affordability with Sam Marwood became Cultivate Farms – described by Mr Marwood as “Tinder of farming”.

This week Cultivate Farms delivered its first farm match, aspiring farming family Claire and Marc Coates and their children are now co-owners of their dream farm, in Kyabram.

The deal was secured through an investment organisation called Odonata.

“What a day … we signed up our first farm match,” Mr Marwood posted on his regular Cultivate Farms video blog this week.

The Coates family will use the move to expand and develop Freeland Pork, a free range pig farm.

“They are living the dream, they are doing exactly what we want at Cultivate Farms,” Mr Marwood said.

“It’s a 50-50 arrangement, investors bought the land and also invested in the business side of things so they own 50 per cent of the business with Claire and Marc.

“The aim is that Claire and Mark will own 50 per cent of the land in three years.”

The Coates were successful at a pitching day run by Cultivate Farms six months ago, where aspiring farmers presented business plan to investors who could finance their farming dreams.

“This is real. This stuff happens,” Mrs Coates said.

“We are so proud and we’re so honoured and extremely grateful for all the opportunity and we’re just so glad that we were able to pull it all together and what an amazing opportunity.

“We’re moving into our new farm.”

Cultivate farms has a growing database of aspiring farmers and farmers looking to retire or move away from the land and it plans another pitching day soon, with another investor ready to commit to agriculture.

“This is just the first farm of a 1000,” Mr Marwood said.

“It is absolutely possible, we’ve proved it right there.”

The match-making idea won the Regional Institute of Australia’s 2017 Lightbulb Moments Competition, run in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.