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Harper Adams student embraces crowdfunding to start own farm

A Harper Adams University student is using the power of crowdfunding to help get him onto the farming ladder.
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Jack Stilwell, 23, will soon embark on his final degree year studying rural property management before hoping to pursue his career by starting his own farm business.

 

The ambitious student who hails from Rowlands Castle, Hampshire, has registered with hubbub.net, a crowdfunding platform which helps raise funds for new business ideas and projects.

 

The idea came after Jack was offered the opportunity to rent 20 hectares (50 acres) of grassland from an elderly lady who is unable to maintain the land anymore.

 

This offered Jack the opportunity to bring his small herd of cattle out to graze.

 

He says: “Over the past three years I have put every spare penny I have into getting my first few animals, consisting mainly of Hereford crosses, but with a few Aberdeen-Angus and beef Shorthorn crosses as well.

 

“At present, I run a more extensive system producing stores, selling them through Salisbury market aged between 20 and 24 months, and have twice achieved top price of the day at market.”

Self promotion

Jack runs a grass/silage-based system with minimal concentrate input and keeps his current animals on 8ha (20 acres) of family-owned ground, as well as using grassland on a neighbouring farm, rearing some animals for the owner on a rented contract.

 

Since launching his project on hubbub.net, he has raised £87 of the £4,000 target he has pledged and has 40 days left to hit his financial goal, which will help him achieve the aim of running a farm full-time in five years.

 

He says: “There are several popular crowdfunding websites, most of which require a payment or an offer of a steak in your company/project. I chose to use hubbub.net as it is founded on the principal that no financial reward or offer of shares can be made.

Donations are purely given if people support the project.”


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Costing

Jack has broken his costings down to tell potential investors what the money will be spent on if they were to donate. These are:

  • Renting 20 hectares (50 acres) of grassland at £100/ha (£40/acre) = £2,000
  • Calf purchase of 10 animals at £150/head = £1,500
  • Sundry and feed costs for initial rearing and feeding such as milk powder, vets and meds, other feed stuffs = £500+
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