79. Dan Miller on Funding for Sustainable Farms

What is crowdfarming and how can it facilitate investments in sustainable farming?

Dan Miller, founder and CEO of crowdfarming platform Steward, joins us today to talk about crowdfarming, exactly what it means, and how he implements it to best service his clients and farms. When asked about what inspired him to start Steward, Dan cites an interaction with a well-known chef in his hometown of Washington D.C. where he mentioned the difficulties facing independent farmers that supplied his restaurant. The more specialized the farms were, the harder it was to get a loan. Dan felt that instead of forcing farmers to fit within a box, it should be the other way around. So he committed himself to creating a system that empowers farmers to steward their land sustainably, with consumers—the people with the most to gain from sustainable farming—investing in their success.

You’ll Hear:

How the idea of Steward was conceived 1:24

What Dan was doing before Steward 2:24

How a farmer can apply for a loan with Steward 5:02

What Steward does after the farm has been funded 7:26 

How Steward reaches investors 10:31

What kind of vetting a farmer should do when looking for a lender 11:57

What criteria Steward seeks when vetting farmers for loans 14:11

What systems Dan wishes farmers would put into effect sooner 18:16

How Dan chooses the right team members for Steward 21:46

The biggest mistake Dan sees newer farmers making 26:12

What farmers should avoid during their first year of farming 29:32

How Dan feels about the opportunities in starting a farm now 30:23

Where you can learn more about Dan and Steward 33:45

About the Guest:

Dan Miller is the Founder and CEO of Steward, the world’s first crowdfarming platform™.  Steward enables people to invest directly in sustainable farms. Through Steward, responsible investors can earn projected returns while transforming agriculture, by equipping sustainable farmers with the capital they need to grow. Unlike traditional funding methods, Steward’s crowdfarming model creates a healthy yield for both farmers and investors: farmers purchase land and equipment, and investors earn projected returns while making a positive impact.

Steward combines Dan’s background in investment crowdfunding, real estate, and technology with his passion for agriculture, stemming from his maternal family, which has been farming on the Eastern Shore of Maryland since the 1880s.

Resources and mentions:

Website – https://gosteward.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/GoSteward/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/steward

And if you want to keep the conversation going, join us in our Facebook Group to connect with us and other farmers looking to grow their business!

We also have six free eguides to help you be more effective on your farm (Winter Growing, Pastured Poultry, Washing Shed Efficiency, Profitable Farmers Toolkit, what to look for in a farm property, etc), which you can download here.