Monday, April 28, 2008

Hedge Funds Buying Farmland

We may have an answer to the age old question: "To Whom?".
For some reason I picture Farmer Jones (with a couple Iowa State Masters Degrees) aw shucking the city folks and I think of Senator Sam Ervin (running intellectual circles around Attorney General John Mitchell, John Dean and the rest of "Richard Nixon's Secret Tapes Club Band"*) and his "I'm just a simple country lawyer" line.
From the Financial Times:

Hedge funds and investment banks are swapping their Gucci for gumboots as they bet on rising food prices by buying farms.

Billions of dollars are flowing into farmland across the world as investors gorge themselves on vast tracts of Australia, South America and eastern Europe.

“Sell banks, buy cheese,” Crispin Odey, manager of London-based hedge fund Odey Asset Management who has started investing in farming companies, said recently.

His recommendation is being followed by many hedge funds and a new type of farmland holding company – often backed by hedge funds – which believe the food boom will make farming highly profitable.>>>MORE

In a sidebar of related stories the FT has:

Earlier Climateer Investing posts:

The hedge fund manager who bought a farm

Crash could follow farm boom; Ethanol Subsidies to be Cut?

Farm visits can ease mental illness

Finally a story from John Kenneth Galbraith:

This tale is said to be told by John Kenneth Galbraith on himself. As a boy he lived on a farm in Canada. On the adjoining farm, lived a girl he was fond of. One day as they sat together on the top rail of the cattle pen they watched a bull servicing a cow. Galbraith turned to the girl, with what he hoped was a suggestive look, saying, "That looks like it would be fun." She replied, "Well.... She’s your cow."

*from Doonesbury