Farm futures: private equity goes organic

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2013
Monday, April 29, 2013
0513 FarmFutures 03
// Photo by Eric Näslund

That farm financing is difficult is not new. Plenty of local programs have tried to help young farmers get onto land, whether by providing matching savings programs and loan application help, such as Slow Money Northwest is attempting with their Farmer Reserve Fund program, or by creating listings to match existing land owners with land seekers, as Friends of Family Farmers is doing with their iFarm program. But traditional bank loans don’t flow easily to farmers. This makes iFarm land seeker and young farmer Aren Hinely curious about Farmland LP’s model.

“Early in [my] search in 2007 and 2008, financing was much easier, but as my family didn’t have much experience in farming at the time, our income-debt ratio was largely all that mattered,” Hinely says. Over time Hinely found a cheap-enough piece of land, but it came with compromises, including a smaller size in a less than ideal location with more land rehabilitation needed. Now that Hinely contemplates expansion, he still faces financing hurdles.

“Overpaying for land, or being in the wrong place, or not having sufficient water and soil quality can lead to compromises in the farming in order to make a mortgage payment,” he says. “I’m very interested in what Farmland LP is up to.”

Instead of leaving investment in farming to the banks, Farmland has found a group of individual and institutional investors who are willing to put money into the Farmland equity fund, in the hopes that returns will be as good or better than commodity cropland’s approximately 5% annual return (not including land appreciation). Farmland’s pasture-based organic and sustainable model has the added benefit of being catnip to socially responsible investors.

Portland-based non-profit Ecotrust is one of these, having followed Farmland LP from its inception. Richard Hervey, Corvallis city council president, is another.

“I really like the model,” Hervey says. “I wanted to move some of our money out of the stock market. Farm land is a fundamentally stable investment and Farmland LP is also a local investment.”



 

More Articles

Emperor of the Sea

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

Pacific Seafood, one of the world’s largest processors, is rebranding as a more transparent and consumer-friendly operation. A controversial CEO and monopoly accusations from coastal fishermen complicate the tale.


Read more...

It's a Man's Man's Man's World

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Male tech workers speak out on the industry's gender troubles.


Read more...

5 questions about the FLIR FX

The Latest
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
FLIR-FX-IndoorBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The Wilsonville-based company is targeting GoPro enthusiasts with its latest release. Is spy gear poised to go mainstream?


Read more...

ZoomCare rolls out new on-demand health clinics

News
Monday, March 02, 2015
zoomcarethumbBY KIM MOORE |  OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Portland-based healthcare provider ZoomCare said it plans to “remake American healthcare” by expanding its on-demand urgent care model to emergency, surgery, dental and primary care, among others.


Read more...

VIDEO: The 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015

videothumbVIDEO: 2015 100 Best Companies to work for in Oregon


Read more...

Photos from the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon awards celebration

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
IMG 9975cneditPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Images from the 2015 celebration of Oregon's great workplaces.


Read more...

Much ado about data-driven organizations, for good reason

Contributed Blogs
Monday, April 13, 2015
bigdatathumbBY GRANT KIRBY | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

The mega-shift from technology-driven to data-driven organizations raises questions about Oregon’s workforce preparedness.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS