“Don’t you find it odd that people will put more work into choosing their mechanic or house contractor than they will into choosing the person who grows their food?” — Joel Salatin
Social, Ecological and Economic Impacts
Our impact is measured by the following:
- Quantity of acreage certified organic or under transition
- Percentage of farm tenants with long term leases
- Diversity of crops in production
- Extensions of farm tenant/energy leases
- Longevity of investment capital
- Soil productivity and bio-diversity
Our primary focus is the middle size family farmer whose main income is from sustainable farm operations. Often the farmland has been in the family as leasehold for multiple generations and a succession event occurs that opens the door for a new owner. In such a case we purchase the farmland and retain the existing tenant on the farm.
Additionally, farmland might come up for sale that may provide potential for expanding existing operations. Typically we deal directly with the selling entity in negotiating the acquisition. We work closely with the prospective farm tenant to assure that the purchase terms are economic for both owner and lessee. Helping sustainable farmers with land access is embodied in our mission. We are also developing new programs to assist young and beginning farmers with farmland access.
Renewable Capital enables Renewable Leases
Over the last 5 years, we have seeded and sponsored multiple LLC ventures to own and operate organic farms. Each investment has had a specific exit strategy — normally the sale of the farm within 5 to 7 years. This was deemed as necessary to attract capital. However, the sale of the farm collapses the impact and potentially disenfranchises the farm tenant. Having succeeded in building profitable and sustainable entities in this investment field, we are in the enviable position of structuring ownership entities that do not rely on farmland sales or liquidity events as an exit for invested capital. A good example of this is our flagship venture (Iroquois Valley Farms LLC) that will can hold the farmland indefinitely. This enables the generational impact that we are seeking – supporting farmer continuity and cash flow — and enhancing the economic relationship between ownership capital and farmer tenant.
Growing Healthy Foods with Healthy Capital
The organic crops coming off our farms are primarily sold to food processors, cooperatives, grain brokers and wholesalers. End uses are growing — including blue and white corn chips, tofu, soy milk, organic flour, oatmeal, cereals, edible bean markets including kidney, black and pinto, roasted soy nuts, organic dairy operations, health bars, etc. Most of the production is for human consumption. New owners are also growing — accredited and non-accredited individuals diversifying their IRA’s, educational endowment funds, pension funds, environmentally focused enterprises and mission driven private wealth offices or institutions.
“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” — Rachel Carson