Steward is a BCorp and Public Benefit corporation enabling people to invest directly in sustainable agriculture and the future of food.
Steward enables people to invest directly in sustainable farms and the future of food. Steward investors are transforming agriculture by equipping regenerative farmers with the capital they need to grow.
An innovative fintech framework for the future of agriculture. Steward’s model creates a healthy yield for both farmers and investors: sustainable farmers purchase land, equipment, and infrastructure they need to grow while investors earn projected annual returns of 6-10% paid from interest on secured mortgage farm loans.
Professionally curated investments. Each and every farm undergoes rigorous due diligence prior to approval, and are thoroughly vetted by our Farm Steward team of agricultural specialists.
Mobilization of the enormous amount of capital embedded within the growing interest in the healthy, equitable and sustainable food system. This capital is needed to reduce chronic disease, feed the growing population of the planet and protect the resources needed to provide for future generations. With smaller farmers, there is a reduced need for middlemen, and as a result, farming is changing, less centralized operations are likely to grow in prevalence, increasing resilience, food security and efficiency.
A proven track record. Steward Founder and CEO, Dan Miller, was Co-Founder, President, and a Director of Fundrise—the largest U.S. real estate crowdfunding platform, with more than $900 million raised. Dan brings to Steward the experience and expertise to sustain rapid growth.
Complete investor alignment. Our founder has invested more than $4 million of his own capital into Steward to fund start-up costs and the initial portfolio of farm loans, ensuring that interests are investor aligned.
Technology & Experience. We leverage our founder’s insider’s knowledge, having already created a successful crowdfunded equity platform to revolutionize agrifinance. We’re collecting data to help continue to build the farms of the future.
Flexibility. We structure funding and support to match the needs of each farmer, helping them to scale their operations.
A robust pipeline. In 2019 alone, Steward has had 1,200 funding applications and has bootstrapped investments in a portfolio of 16 farms in the “Steward Farm Trust” totaling $2.7m.
Steward serves the small-to-medium sized farms that make up 89% percent of U.S. farms. The farms we support are dedicated to producing food in a way that rebuilds the natural systems we all depend on for clean air and water, and a healthy food system. However, since sustainable farms are not producing the commodity crops that underpin a system of cheap, processed food, they are excluded from the conventional funding systems used to support industrial agriculture.
Existing agriculture financing falls short for these farmers. It caters to high volume commodity producers, involves a rigid underwriting process, is dependent on government subsidies and loan programs, generally, small to medium sized farms have limited access to private financing options. And geographically, the funding for farms is concentrated in a few places. Of the top ten recipients of U.S. farm subsidies, five are located in one state.
The opportunity is an expanding one. The average size of a farm in the United States has actually decreased over the past three decades, in spite of the consolidation of many medium to large scale operations. A recent survey of U.S. farmers under 40 conducted by the National Young Farmer Coalition, found the median farm size among respondents to be just 19 acres! The loan market to small farms is worth $63.3 billion in the U.S. alone. Steward finances regenerative agriculture, unlocking supply by connecting farmers to investment demand.
The timing is right. About one third of U.S. farm producers are 65 years of age or older--and nearly three quarters have already been farming for a decade. There is a massive opportunity for farmers and investors to partner in the generational transition in agriculture, at a time where technology and digital marketing can revolutionize efficiency--expanding farming opportunities and creating new types of employment in agriculture.
Financing opportunities have not kept up with these changes, and it is difficult for these smaller farms led by a new generation to get the capital that they need to scale. This is the funding gap which Steward fills, the depth of which signals a strong future for the growth of your investment in Steward.
The farms we target aren’t just sustainable, they make business sense, too. These farms have low expenses due to the removal of purchase inputs from regenerative practices, low overhead due to farm size, limited staff and small equipment, and have already established markets with direct sales to end-users for a high margin. They build on this robust foundation through our investment. Simply put, investing in these farms provides a solid financial return.
Steward is a Public Benefit Corporation with a long-term commitment to promote environmental and economic stewardship through sustainable and regenerative agriculture.
We Strive To:
All without compromising the planet’s ecosystems and natural resources.
We align with farmers committed to regenerative agricultural practices.
Serving communities. We're improving access to fresh, healthy food for local communities by funding farmers growing for their markets--increasing efficiency and nutrition.
Lasting relationships. We're supporting farmers over the long-term, allowing them to invest in their future.
Increasing farmer cash flow. By facilitating direct sales to consumers, Steward helps farmers earn more for their labor.
Steward's primary sources of revenue are loan origination fees paid (2.0% of loan principal amount, one-time, paid by borrowers), servicing fees (1.0% of invested capital, recurring, paid by investors), farm services ($149-499 per month, recurring, paid by farmers), and technology licensing ($2,000-5,000 per month, recurring, paid by financial sponsors) and our proprietary data.
Steward Farm Trust. Steward Farm Trust is our premier offering – a diversified portfolio of farm investments. With a minimum investment of $100, this accessible offering empowers non-accredited investors to support farmers working hard to create the future - a sustainable global food supply - and provides a financial return and dividends estimated at a 6.0% annually. Most loans are secured farm mortgages, decreasing the portfolio’s risk profile. All investments undergo a rigorous curation and due diligence process.
Individual Deals. Particularly passionate about heirloom vegetables? Focused on sustainable livestock operations? Investment in an individual loan allows a direct connection between the investor and the farmer, and is well suited for investors who want to invest in a farm they know or in a region or product type they are passionate about. Investors purchase loan participation interests linked to a specific farm with returns ranging from 6-10% per annum.
Farm Services. Smaller farmers often lack the business resources they need to rapidly increase profitability. We believe in giving them the business tools they need to be successful, so they can focus on what they excel at - regenerative farming. We currently offer farms services in accounting and bookkeeping, with future plans to expand to marketing, operations, grant writing, legal, human resources, and admin. By providing these services to farms on a nationwide scale, we are able to create scalable, resource-efficient platforms that address the full range of farmers’ business needs. This also gives Steward a recurring revenue stream which is independent of loan origination, thus strengthening Steward’s overall cash flow performance.
Technology Licensing. We know that agricultural finance isn’t anything new. We understand we are not the only investors focused on sustainable farms. What makes Steward revolutionary is our equity crowdfunding platform, making investing in the future of food accessible to all, and bringing cutting edge financing mechanisms to the agrifinance industry and other sectors connected to sustainable development. Our founder has already built the industry leading equity crowdfunding platform (Fundrise, focused on conventional real estate properties) - and thus brings deep expertise to Steward. Steward provides its software to financial sponsors focused sustainable investment to propel forward the movement and leverage our valuable in-house technology infrastructure and know-how.
Investors in Steward Holding Company are set to profit from multiple revenue streams, giving them the upside of an industry first company, as well as the stability of a diversified revenue stream.
In founding Steward, Dan has combined his background in investment crowdfunding, real estate and technology with his passion for sustainable agriculture. Prior to Steward, Dan was Co-Founder, President, and a Director of Fundrise, the largest US real estate crowdfunding platform, which has raised more than $500 million.
Steward's first employee, responsible for operations. Faisal was a startup founder and has held multiple operating roles.
Jerome takes the lead on Steward’s platform infrastructure, overseeing all technology development, automation, and maintenance.
Stevie leads Steward's marketing strategy with experience in digital communications, creative direction, and public relations.
David is an experienced lawyer with more than 20 years of experience in private practice as well as in-house.
Cameron has experience in audit, compliance, and accounting, having worked for public accounting firms and a Fortune 75 corporation.
A team of agricultural specialists vert and support every farmer, lead by Aaron Newton and Rowan Steele.
A global team supports operational needs, including marketing, accounting, investor relations technology, customer support, and administration.
Executive advisor who helps CEOs, presidents, and boards develop and transform their organisations.
Lead investor in this round of funding will join the board.
"Through Steward, individual investors can put as little as $100 into small, sustainable farms that otherwise have trouble gaining access to government and bank loans." Fast Company
Join a growing community of sustainably-minded stewards reaping the rewards from responsible farming
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