We can identify land purchases that meet certain general parameters set by our clients. Factors in our evaluation include area climate, market sources for products raised, soils suitability, types of crops, land price trends in the area, the role of technology in crop production methods, and long term price appreciation potential.
There are a wide array of investment options when it comes to agricultural land, ranging from permanent crops such as citrus and nuts, to such annual crops as wheat, corn, and sunflowers. We seek to find a balance between land price, income stream, area risks, and the suitability of the purchase for investors given their investment goals and time horizon.
Ag Management provides on going management services. These include working directly with farm tenants, negotiating farming arrangements, taking care of paperwork pertaining to government farm programs, and regular reporting to clients on condition of crops, market prices, and the like.
Ag Management has engaged in a diverse mix of consulting projects. One assignment involved the creation and fine tuning of a financial model for investing in US farmland, on behalf of a European investor. The model included six geographic regions of the United States, several types of crops, and irrigated and non irrigated farming. Further, a mix of farming arrangements—cash lease, crop share lease, and custom farming—was included to help the client attain its rate of return goals.
A second assignment pertained to an irrigation development project in the United States, on behalf of an alternative asset fund. A thorough review of operations was conducted, and recommendations were made with regard to the land conversion process, the design and operation of the irrigation systems, the monitoring of water resources, the economics of various power sources for the water pumping, the budget costs for a direct operation, and the mix of crops.
In addition, we have researched issues of food security and sourcing for a Mideast based organization, provided a proposal for a major irrigation development project for a Mideastern investor, and studied the financial and operating aspects of a proposed African irrigation project consisting of several hundred thousand acres.
- Introduced no-till farming and crop rotations to the Great Plains decades before those techniques became widely used
- Large grower of organic grains
- Put into place detailed field by field reporting system for large scale farms; early user of satellite based field imagery
- Early proponent of outside equity capital for farm investments
- Speaker on farmland investment at Global Ag conferences in Singapore, Abu Dhabi and New York
AMP offers a variety of services, ranging from evaluation of equitable leasing arrangements for smaller landowners, to large scale projects such as the current involvement in turning around a 30,000 acre farm in the Middle East. In all cases, we apply so called “high level” knowledge of macro trends in the industry, and in the world economy, along with ground level know how gained from 40 years of experience—experience which could never be learned from a book.
The large Middle East project has brought into play our agricultural experiences from the past 30 plus years, including:
- Review of economic and food supply/demand trends in the region, and in the world.
- Water availability for desert farming, and delivering a message of sustainable farming in that context.
- Fundamental changes in a farming program that had focused for years on high water use and/or government subsidized production of certain crops, to a market based decision on which crops can be sustainably produced and sold in the region.
- Introduction of precision farming techniques, to include satellite imagery of fields, and use of that as a management tool, along with zone mapping of fields, and soil testing of each zone.
- Use of no till farming techniques to build up organic matter diminished by years of tillage.
- Testing of new crops, and varieties, to assess their suitability for the area.
- Establishment of water, weather, and soil monitoring systems, so that irrigation scheduling could be done based on a solid set of data.
- Overhauling of the company’s organizational structure, with a focus on decentralized decision making.
- Introduction of new purchasing techniques, and reduction of red tape at all levels of the company.
For US farmers, we offer a Whole Farm Analysis that is intended to deliver a complete review of financial, organizational, and operational aspects, of medium to large farms. We seek to gain a historical perspective on how the farm was built to its present state, what makes it tick, what keeps the owners up at night, and what the farm will look like in five years. These items are broken down into many subcategories, and we drill down into the details of daily operations, along with the broader picture of the farm’s overall financial and operating posture. The assessment also includes a close look at crop marketing methods, risk management techniques, and the use of ag. tech as a tool to enhance good decision making.
Each of the Whole Farm Analyses is unique, just as each farm has things that set it apart from others in the area. We seek to put ourselves in the shoes of the client, while at the same time keeping an outside perspective so that a balanced assessment can be done. As is true in every realm of business, one can sometimes overlook the big picture and/or the small things that occur every day, and which can shape the direction and likelihood of success in the business.
Unlike some other service providers whose advice may be linked to the purchase of a product such as a crop input, or a service such as accounting, we offer only our advice, with no strings attached. And that advice comes from over 30 years of hands on, ground level knowledge, coupled with a deep understanding of the larger picture within which all of us conduct our daily actions.