Sharefarming resolution as hovering land costs retains younger hemp oil producers out of property market

As land prices rose on the north coast of New South Wales, aspiring young farmers Hanna Navara and Leon Hoffmann-Detenhoff turned to farming together as an alternative to owning their own land.

Important points:

  • Rising land prices can be prohibitive for young people looking to get into farming
  • Sharing land with an established farmer is one way for young people to break into the industry
  • Those involved in sharefarming say that a contract is important, but so is communication

Ms. Navara, 28, has studied alternative farming methods such as permaculture and regenerative agriculture for the past three years.

She originally wanted to run a gardening business, but turned her attention to hemp – especially seeds and oil.

“It’s quite difficult to make a living as a smallholder,” said Ms. Navara.

After obtaining the appropriate licenses, the couple began to look for land.

Given that prices on the north coast rose 2.5 percent between July 2019 and July 2020 (up from a 1 percent increase in the previous quarter), Ms. Navara sought common agriculture.

Mike and Cheyl from Solum Farm greet the people on their property for a tour (

ABC Coffs Coast: Kate Aubrey

)

Share farming as an alternative

Applying on social media for a farming opportunity, Ms. Navara met Mike and Cheryl Smith, established organic farmers at Solum Farm.

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The couple owns a 10 acre certified organic lime farm in Mororo, NSW, and has always worked.

According to Smith, the sharefarming arrangement involves sharing costs and profits evenly and relies on effective communication to ensure it remains profitable.

“You have to have a very long conversation with someone you are going to jump into bed with,” he said.

“You can draw up all legal contracts and agreements, but the moment you need to pick up that piece of paper alarm bells, you should go.”

Hemp oil is becoming increasingly attractive

As an emerging industry, Mr Smith said that making Australian certified hemp oil has a strong pull on them.

A woman reaches over her head and examines her hemp crop The aspiring young farmer Hanna Navara is looking for a hemp farmer. (

ABC Coffs Coast: Kate Aubrey

)

“It is very difficult to get Australian certified organic hemp oil,” he said.

“That’s why we went the oil route.”

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In Australia, hemp oil is mainly used for food consumption or to make soaps and lotions because of its omega-3 and omega-6 content.

While medical cannabis oil is used for health conditions.

Ms. Navara says after moving from another farm and then weathering the drought, bushfires and bureaucracy, she is confident that this season will bring the fruits of her labor.

“We have about six weeks before harvest,” she said.

“We’ll be able to tell when we’re going to put them through the hemp seed oil machine and get the exact numbers.”