Farmland LP was featured in the Wall Street Journal today about how the new Farm Bill, three years in the making, would benefit companies like ours. While the new bill still favors conventional agriculture overall, it has better-than-ever provisions for organic agriculture and signals an important and telling shift in public policy.
How might that impact Farmland LP? The Wall Street Journal interviewed our investor/advisor Ali Partovi and co-founder Craig Wichner. From the article:
“Ali Partovi…hopes the bill, which was signed into law Feb. 7, will increase the supply of organic food, bringing down prices for consumers.
Beyond that, the bill offers new angles for a few of the startups in which he invests, including Farmland LP, a five-year-old real-estate fund that transforms conventional farmland into organic farmland. The fund has bought close to 7,000 acres of land, valued at $50 million, in the San Francisco Bay Area and Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Farmland LP and its dozen employees ready the property to be certified for organic production, rotating crops and livestock to enhance its fertility and productivity.
By reducing federal spending on commodity programs for crops like corn, soybeans and rice, the new Farm Bill “significantly leveled the playing field for organic farming, making it an even more attractive opportunity for investors by reducing the unfair advantages previously granted to commodity grain crops by subsidies and crop insurance,” says Mr. Partovi.”
Craig discussed how Whole Farm Insurance will deliver tangible benefits for farmers and enterprises such as Farmland LP/Vitality Farms:
“This Farm Bill represents a big shift,” says Craig Wichner, Farmland LP’s co-founder and managing director. “Previously, insurance was available for farmers to grow corn for ethanol facilities, and for cattle in feedlots,” he says.
“But if I planted high-quality, long-term pasture for cattle, sheep and chickens, and rotated crops how everyone used to farm…I could not get insurance for that,” he adds. “The difference between last year and this year is that we’ll be able to get insurance for what we do, like any responsible business owner.”
The Journal didn’t include one of Jason’s beautiful “Daily Pics” of our farms with the article, so we’ve included one here to remind you that healthy pastures with livestock are not only more profitable, but also beautiful. Craig was happy that a major national news publication was talking about Farmland LP and sustainable agriculture — “People reading that article on the Farm Bill will understand that we are doing something substantive and attractive.” Our happy sheep couldn’t agree more.
Read more at the Wall Street Journal, “Firms Plow Through Farm Bill, Seeking an Edge“.