We had a nice visit about a month ago from April Streeter of the journal Oregon Business. Now Farmland LP (and Vitality Farms) are featured in their May issue with an article titled “Farm Futures: Private Equity Goes Organic.” I am impressed by the quality of reporting here, which explains our story in concise prose with a clarity few others have captured.
From left to right: Neal Wells, Karen Wells and myself. It was a cold, rainy day so photography was done in a barn. Lots of livestock available as props. Not shown is shepherd Mac Stewart who saw me with a lamb over my shoulders (also published with the article) and texted: “I don’t pose with baby lambs.” I know Mac, I know. Photo by Eric Näslund.
Here’s a nice paragraph:
Instead of the typical U.S. model, in which larger acreages are passed on through family inheritance or owned by corporations, Farmland is two managers using investor funds to purchase conventional mid-size farms in both Oregon (around 1,000 acres thus far) and California (5,300 acres). Once converted to certified organic acreage, Farmland’s holdings are put into a newfangled land-management system that is actually based on a more old-fashioned rotation of plots between growing pasture, grazing livestock and cultivating different crops in order to boost soil fertility without chemical fertilizers. And unlike the one-man-one-tractor model of agriculture, in which a few farmers work vast swathes of land in monocrops, or the sustainable farm ideal in which a farmer takes a small patch of ground and coaxes multiple foods from it, Farmland’s model is novel. Different farming experts will ply their trades on the same plots of ground as these pieces of land are moved through rotation.
The reporter did a lot of research beyond just talking to us, and the article includes quotes from others commenting on our business model, including our 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.”
A key thread is the opportunity provided to young and beginning farmers and it was nice to hear the perspective of farmers we work with, as well as reactions and experiences of those involved in start-up farms. I want to thank April Streeter and Oregon Business for such a thorough analysis.
And for those of you who aren’t investors or farmers, you can benefit from the food coming from our farms. Here in Oregon look for pork from Mosaic Farms, lamb from Cattail Creek, and eggs from Vitality Farms when shopping or dining. Not only are the land and animals treated well, but these farmers are great at what they do and care about your health and your enjoyment of the food they grow.