February is Farmland LP’s four year anniversary.
In February of 2009 Craig and I and a couple of other friends took a week-long road trip to Oregon’s Willamette Valley to look at buying farmland. We saw a wonderful opportunity to convert conventional farmland to organic and sustainable farmland, but it also became perfectly clear to us that to really make a difference would require more capital and more brilliant people than we could fit in our car.
Sustainable agriculture is a team sport, requiring financing, sufficient farmland, agronomists, livestock and crop farmers, real estate management, fund management, and much more. And on the drive home from that road trip we crafted Farmland LP, almost exactly in the form it is today, and began working full time on our passion.
I moved my family to Corvallis on Labor Day weekend 2009. By February 2010 the fund had purchased 154 acres near Corvallis. It took until April of 2011 to add another 112 acres a few miles from our first property.
In 2012 we purchased the 1,114 acre Brentwood Creek Farm in California in February, another property near Corvallis at 692 acres in March, and finally the 4,200 acre Burns Farm near Tracy, CA in late December…a very nice way to end the year.
Chris Hansen of Mosaic Farms was one of the first to lease land from us and he still does today. Here he is pictured with some of his prize winning pastured hogs at Fern Rd Farm in the summer of 2010.
This has been a lot of work, but also a wonderful personal experience for both of us. We have met so many exceptional people, such as our 75 investors who put their trust in us, the sellers of the land, the dedicated farmers and ranchers we work with, the wise people who buy our farmers’ products while appreciating great food and the long-term stewardship of the land, and finally those that just cheer us on. Thank you.
Our first fund will close soon with 6300 acres and over $43 million in assets. We think of this as a great start in transforming our agricultural system into one that is both economically and environmentally sustainable, while producing abundant food for all humanity. We are looking forward to continuing doing this for many years to come.