Investors to examine evolution of ag as an asset class
NEW YORK — After decades of stagnation, multiple market influences have led to exponential growth in farmland investing, broadening it from a niche investment to a mainstream institutional asset class. Defining the evolution of this asset class are the pioneers who have been involved since the beginning, including Jim McCandless, head of Global Real Estate Farmland for UBS Farmland Investors, who will be the keynote speaker at the ninth annual Global AgInvesting conference, set for April 18-21, 2017 in New York at the Grand Hyatt. Armed with nearly half a century of investment experience, McCandless will present “Perspectives from a Pioneer on the Evolution of Agriculture as an Asset Class.” He will draw on the history of how the U.S. farm crisis of the early 1980s expanded the number of insurance companies and banks with farmland holdings in order to manage the huge volume of farm properties acquired through foreclosure during these years. McCandless experienced the recovery years – when the negative correlation of farmland returns with returns to financial assets was touted, and the asset’s potential as a diversifier was recognized — from his seat as one of the five founders of AgriVest. McCandless will look back at “lessons learned” during these times, with special attention to the climate in the sector today where the past few years have seen sustained low commodity prices and in some regions, pull-back in property values and returns, to provide Global AgInvesting attendees with a view of what the future may hold for institutional farmland investing.