Though much has been written about how active farmers have been in the land market lately, investors have also been participating in the buying frenzy. A recent article by Associated Press writer Bernard Condon (Down on the Farm, Investors See Big Potential) describes the attraction to agricultural properties by the non-farmer.
These new buyers aren’t the big institutional funds that many fear. Instead, they’re individual investors who have been described as “gentlemen farmers” in the media, though perhaps something worse by the farmers they’re competing with to buy land. Many have no ties to farming and still don’t like getting their hands dirty. But they do have money and the belief that an investment in the food chain is a good long-term bet.
Is the influx of new money into land simply a short term phenomenon? Perhaps, but I think many of these buyers are pretty astute investors and are not simply looking to buy a farm and then flip it for a quick profit. From a practical standpoint, they really don’t comprise a very big part of the demand for land so they likely won’t have a very big impact on the market as a whole. And as much as many farmers dislike any outside money competing for land, this outside capital can be critically important to the farmers who must rent land because they don’t have the financial resources to buy it.