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October 2010 Archive for Your Precious Land

RSS By: Mike Walsten, Pro Farmer

Mike Walsten has covered major business trends in agriculture for more than 40 years.

Canadian Farmland Values Rise 3% First Half 2010

Oct 05, 2010

Mike Walsten

The value of Canadian farmland rose 3% during the first half of 2010, according to Farm Credit Canada (FCC). FCC is Canada's leading agricultural lender with more than $19.7 billion in loans. Since 1990, FCC has appraised 245 benchmark farm properties across the nation to monitor changes in the value of bare farmland. The appraisal updates are conducted twice a year covering the first half and second half of each year.

This year, the appraisal update found Canadian farmland rose 3% in the first six months of 2010, following gains of 3.6% and 2.9% in the previous two reporting periods. Farmland values remained stable or increased in all provinces except British Columbia, which saw a 0.9% decrease. Ontario experienced the highest average increase at 4.3% followed by Manitoba at 3.4% and Nova Scotia at 3.1%. Alberta and Saskatchewan both reported a gain of 2.9%.

Click here for the full report.

If interested in seeing a copy of my LandOwner newsletter, just drop me an email at or call 800-772-0023.

Pension Fund Acquires Farmland Realtor/Manager Westchester Group, Inc.

Oct 04, 2010

Mike Walsten

If there was any question of pension-fund interest in farmland, today's announcement that the large academic, medical, government and research pension fund TIAA has acquired controlling interest in Westchester Group, Inc., should end all doubt. TIAA is the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America and is part of TIAA-CREF, a national financial services organization with $410 billion in combined assets under management providing retirement services to nonprofit and government fields. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

TIAA is among the largest institutional investors in agriculture, with investments in more than 400 farms in North America, South America, Australia and Eastern Europe. Westchester, which had managed agricultural investments on behalf of TIAA since the inception of the pension firm's agricultural portfolio, manages more than $1 billion in agricultural assets and nearly 320,000 acres throughout the United States and Australia.

In making the announcement, Jose Minaya, TIAA's Natural Resources Group, said: "We think the long-term outlook for the agricultural asset class is favorable. The scale and diversification of our holdings, and now the combined expertise of our company and Westchester will enable us to continue to identify the highest-quality investment opportunities. We also share a long-term view of agricultural investing that emphasizes responsible stewardship of farmland and a risk-managed approach."

"Farmland, with its historically stable return, differs from other asset types in its market cycles and can potentially reduce volatility relative to a well-diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds and real estate as well as provide a hedge against inflation," the press release states. "TIAA employs a variety of structures in making its farmland investments, with a focus on acquiring equity ownership in the underlying land."

Click here for the full press release.

If interested in seeing a copy of my LandOwner newsletter, just drop me an email at or call 800-772-0023.

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