The cost of land and livestock presents a problem for young farmers. Without the funds to buy cattle or rent farmland, entering the world of farming means working elsewhere or inheriting a family business. Rural Enterprise and Land Management student Jack Stilwell responded with an industry-first crowdfunding campaign that’s seen him set up his own beef farming business.
In his final year of study, Jack set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise £4,000 to buy beef cattle and rent land. His campaign caught the attention of the agricultural press and farmers across the world.
As a result, Jack was contacted by a new farm owner in the US who donated the full £4,000 and another in West Sussex who offered 600 acres of land as part of a share-farming project.
Since then, Jack’s business has grown to include over 200 Hereford and Aberdeen-Angus cattle, split across a number of sites. At the end of 2015, he was named Young Farmer of the Year at the Food and Farming Industry Awards. With his new company, Rural Media Solutions, Jack is working with other farmers and rural businesses to show them how social media and crowdfunding can improve their prospects.