Not long after purchasing a 12-acre parcel of land, Micha and Andrew Ide found themselves – much to their dismay -- talking turkey. The birds they were raising had found a way to sidestep the electric fencing and fly the coup into the vegetable fields of neighboring farmers.
“It was either, find a solution and raise the money or stop raising turkeys,” said Micha Ide, from the farm in Snohomish, Wash.
Instead of approaching the bank for a loan to borrow enough money—somewhere around $4,000—to build an apparatus to keep their birds at bay, a couple turned to the internet and a crowdfunding platform designed to connect farmers and food entrepreneurs to backers. Micah and Andrew Ide are thrilled at the support they received.
“We’ve had so many of our current customers contribute, which blew me away because they’re already paying for our meat and the fact that they’re willing to pay more to support the farm is amazing,” said Micha, who used the funds to build a “turkey tunnel” that provides enough space for their flock of 100 heritage turkeys to roost, forage and explore.
Crowdfunding platforms, such as UHelp, allow entrepreneurs and organizations to create campaign pages for their projects online and seek funding to bring their concepts to life. To acknowledge their support, farmers offer rewards that can range from T-shirts and produce to farm tours.
While crowdfunding has long been the provenance of writers, filmmakers and other creative types, Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of UHelp, said a growing number of farmers are turning to the internet to support sustainable agriculture projects.
“Small farmers often struggle to start or maintain operations,” said Hikind. “Finding financial resources is imperative, but not an easy task. Taking advantage of crowdfunding opportunities is a great way to increase chances of success.”
Building a farm from the ground up takes more than hard work. If you are a small farmer with cash tied up in crops and livestock and struggling to earn money or not making a living at all, UHelp may be the solution to help mediate costs and expose your brand to a national market. The industry needs young, aspiring farmers. You may need UHelp.com.
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