The Wall Street Transcript: Let’s talk about the overall strategy as a company. REITs are plentiful in many areas of real estate like industrial, multi-family, medical, retail, office, and so on. Farming isn’t usually one of the regular choices. How would you compare and contrast the approach you’re taking versus more common routes that REITs go?
Mr. Pittman: At Farmland Partners, we start by looking at the asset class itself, meaning farmland. And then being a REIT is just a certain vehicle, a certain structure that we believe is favorable to investors in terms of its tax efficiency and a variety of other things. But the core of what we do is that we have recognized that farmland ownership — not farming, but farmland ownership — is a very, very secure long-term business.
It is a total return asset class. What I mean by that is it’s an asset class with relatively low current yields. About one-third of your total return comes from rents and two-thirds from appreciation. But a lot of people don’t realize how strong and relatively stable the asset class is. In simplest terms, the reason the asset class is so stable over long periods of time is that it’s all about food, right?
Food consumption gradually increases on a worldwide basis, a story that’s frankly been going on for centuries, probably going on for at least that long into the future. Every day, population gradually grows, and high-quality farmland gets a little scarcer every year. Think of your own local community and places that used to be farms but now are now shopping malls or housing developments or schools or whatever it is. This asset class is going to always be in a position of modest, but continuous appreciation. …
Read the entire interview with Farmland Partner’s CEO in The Wall Street Transcript.
Note: This interview contains Forward Looking Statements.