Introducing: Farm Portfolio

Farm Portfolio is designed to be a streamlined & diversified way to invest in U.S. farmland that supports regenerative agriculture, renewable energy, and nature-based carbon projects. Our focus is U.S. farmland with energy potential and overlooked natural capital.

What makes Farm Portfolio unique:

To provide context for our approach, let's revisit the history of farmland investing.

A Brief History of Farmland Investing

Farmland investment has a long history, dating back to agrarian societies that recognized (or didn’t) the value of fertile land for food production. Several of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America were involved with land investing and agriculture. George Washington was a large landowner and farmer who advocated for crop rotation and soil conservation. John Adams saw agriculture and land ownership as key to civic virtue and national stability, and Benjamin Franklin invested in significant portions of land as part of America's early westward expansion.

In recent years, farmland investing has gained popularity due to the increasing global population, the need for sustainable food production, and the growing demand for more real estate and energy development. This has attracted investors such as Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, John Malone, and Ted Turner, who collectively own a significant percentage of U.S. land.

USDA Farmland Values

Modern investors find many historical benefits in farmland:

  1. Stable Returns: U.S. farmland averaged an 11.5% annual return from 1970 to 2020.
  2. Inflation Hedge: Farmland often appreciates during inflation.
  3. Diversification: Farmland has low correlation with traditional financial assets.
  4. Sustainability Impact: Investments can support soil regeneration and climate goals.
  5. Community Benefits: Economic growth and job creation benefit local communities.
  6. Cash Flow: Consistent income can be generated through production and leases.

Those are not the only reasons that interest in farmland is growing...

Land is an unlocking layer for the fast-growing + essential industries of tomorrow.

Sources: World Bank, South Pole, EIA

This has happened before. In the early 20th century, Western ranches faced financial instability due to fluctuating cattle prices and environmental challenges. The discovery of oil and gas reserves in states like Texas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming transformed many ranches into dual-purpose properties that combined agriculture and energy production. This diversification provided ranches with an alternative revenue stream, stabilizing their finances and enabling further investment in agricultural practices.

The Era of Industrial Agriculture

Industrial agriculture has fed the world, but it’s also depleted our soils.

The era of industrial agriculture began in the mid-20th century, after World War II, with a primary focus on elevating crop yields through the utilization of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and high-yield crop varieties. This method depends heavily on fossil fuels, making it vulnerable to energy price shifts and a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Single-crop farming has resulted in significant land use changes. Nearly 1.8 million acres of grasslands were destroyed across the U.S. and Canadian Great Plains in 2020 alone, while 1.4 billion tons of soil eroded on U.S. cropland in 2015. Factory farming, the dominant method for meat production in the U.S. has significant animal welfare implications and elevates disease risks, as it houses over 99% of the country's farm animals.

The consumer withdraws from the problems of food production, hence becomes ignorant of them and often scornful of them; the producer no longer sees himself as intermediary between people and land—the people’s representative on the land—and becomes interested only in production. The consumer eats worse, and the producer farms worse. And, in their estrangement, waste is institutionalized.

- The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture by Wendell Berry (1977)

Farmers in the industrial system are providing food for their communities and livelihoods for their families. The core issue is that the incentives do not fully factor in the environmental impact.

20th-century growth was fueled by industrial agriculture and fossil fuels. Now, the 21st-century will require regenerative agriculture and renewable energy to enable long-term, sustainable growth.

Regenerative Agriculture is the Future

Regenerative agriculture aims to rebuild soil health, enhance biodiversity, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and foster community involvement and well-being.

While there's no single, universally accepted definition of what constitutes regenerative agriculture today, some of the most common practices considered regenerative are:

  1. Minimize Soil Disturbance: Implementing no-till or reduced-till systems to maintain soil structure, decrease soil erosion, and sequester carbon.
  2. Keep the Soil Covered: Using cover crops, mulches, and crop residues to protect the soil from erosion, improve nutrient cycles, suppress weeds, and increase water retention.
  3. Maximize Crop Diversity: Using polycultures, crop rotation, intercropping, and silvopasture to boost biological diversity, improve soil health, and output higher quality crops.
  4. Maintain Living Roots in the Soil: Growing perennial crops or use cover crops between regular crop cycles to ensure that there are always living roots in the soil.
  5. Integrate Livestock: Using rotational grazing and other forms of humane animal management to improve soil fertility, disperse nutrients, and create wallows for water collection.

These practices are often used in various combinations and tailored to fit the specific needs and local conditions of each farm. For more information, we recommend leading organizations such as Regenerate America, Rodale Institute, Savory Institute, and Understanding Ag.

Despite its potential, only 0.6% of U.S. farmland is certified organic, according to the USDA's 2019 Organic Survey. While organic farming primarily focuses on avoiding synthetic inputs, regenerative agriculture goes further to actively restore soil and ecosystem health. The potential of regenerative practices for carbon sequestration - up to 23.15 gigatons of CO2 by 2050 - makes it vital for climate mitigation and positions it as the future of sustainable agriculture.

The growth of renewable energy, particularly solar and wind power, complements the future of sustainable agriculture in the U.S. While renewable energy is more sustainable than fossil fuels, it does require significant land use. This presents an opportunity for dual-use solutions like agrivoltaics, where solar panels are integrated into farmlands, allowing for the simultaneous production of food and electricity and providing advantages for both crop yields and animal welfare.

Investing in Farmland Regeneration

Do you want to live in a world with more regenerative agriculture and renewable energy?

Map of Farm Portfolio

Farm Portfolio is focused on 3 initial opportunities with leaders in regenerative agriculture:

  1. Grasslands regeneration with bison in South Dakota
  2. Pastureland regeneration in Georgia
  3. Perennial Grains in Colorado

Each of these farms is being designed to integrate regenerative agriculture with community-scale renewable energy and at least one nature-based carbon project.

Farm’s mission is to increase the number of healthy and productive acres and better connect farmland investors to the land. We have the great opportunity to collectively regenerate U.S. farmland soil and ecosystems for current & future generations, the time to act is now.

Learn more and get involved:

If you’d like to learn more about Farm:

This post should not be construed as research or investment advice. These materials do not constitute, or form part of, any offer to sell or issue interests in the Fund or any other entity. Any such offer or solicitation will be made solely by means of a definitive offering document, which will describe the actual terms of any securities offered and will contain material information regarding the securities. The offering will be made only to qualifying investors. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results and there can be no assurance that targeted returns will be achieved. Certain information contained on the website constitute forward-looking statements. Due to various risks and uncertainties, actual events or results of the actual performance of an investment vehicle or strategy may differ materially from those reflected or contemplated in such forward-looking statements.