How ORICOOP Is Supporting Our Organic Farmers and Protecting Our Land

Carolyn Suggate founded ORICoop in 2017 .
Farming Secrets became a Foundation Member as we believe that this exciting initiative will be a key stepping stone for
some lucky young farmers to access and continue the wisdom gained from experienced organic farmers.
Equally it is a great solution for retiring organic farmers who want to see their farming continued for future generations.

Join ORICoop and come along to the AGM on Saturday August 11, and meet your fellow members.
Go here to find out more: https://www.organicinvestmentcooperative.com.au/

Speaker Carolyn Suggate:
So ORICoop is looking at leasing land as well as having a property trust that actually enables investment into significantly sized organic farmland. One of the things with urban farm land, which I think really touches with what Jen is talking about is having highly priced, really valuable significant land in urban settings and enabling investors to take a lower return because I understand the social importance of that piece of land and having a financial structure that enables that to occur.

So ORICoop is really just a vehicle. It’s not to say that other people can’t do it. We really want to partner with farmers and with other organizations that can enable that to happen. One of the really interesting things that’s happened is we’ve had a church approach us and they’ve got all this land that gets gifted to churches through wills. People give their land to the church, whoever knows why but they do, they want us to be able to enable that land to become productive. You know so there’s all these opportunities that come because ORICoop is just really the holding entity. That has these very set principles to that are resilient to outside interests.

So I think I’ve talked a little bit about the organic side of things and one of the things for me the real drivers is that we’re not looking at a listing for an IPO and not looking for a Capital Growth excerpt. You know I think one of the things for me has really been disillusion with a capital gain hunger from investors into farmland, so what we’re really trying to achieve is actually to decouple land value with the farmer lease or mortgage on the land and so that means that in an urban farm land situation, as the property developer gets more hungry in the land gets more expensive doesn’t mean the farmers rent goes up.

And I think that’s one of the critical components to really try and work at how do we do that and I will I will just preface that to say. I don’t think we have all the answers. I think we’ve come a long way. This is like a massive two years sort of journey. We registered ORICoop in March. We’ve had our first investment round, our first organic farm and from that we’ve learnt so much about investment appetite, investment caution about obviously cooperatives, but also just the demand of organic farmers. We know we’ve got more than 46,000 acres of land that’s come to us having 38 Farms now a farmers want to retire, that want to leave the organic industry, but they actually don’t know how they are so passionate about their land. They’ve spent so much time keeping it organic they actually don’t want to put a real estate sign out front. And so we feel just completely motivated to try and work out how we actually achieve what we’re trying to do.

 

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