In episode 161, we welcome our guest, Brandon Zick. Brandon begins talking about his background in farming, and the current ownership structure he’s seeing in the farm business; land ownership and operations are a generation or two removed, which creates a robust rental market, and what makes investment possible.
Meb asks Brandon why investors should consider farmland in their investment portfolios. Brandon discusses the tangibility of owning a real asset such as farmland, the inflation hedge it provides, and its ability to diversify a portfolio.
Next, Brandon gets into the structural inefficiencies of the farmland market, and the risk/return profile it can provide investors.
Meb then asks about the ownership structure of their investments. Brandon talks about Ceres buying land from absentee land owners, their goal of partnering with top decile farmers, and putting more incentives in place for their tenants. He also mentions the farmer relationship and involving them in the underwriting process when looking at acquiring farms.
The conversation then turns to some history on the farmland bust phase in the 80s, and how leverage in the system contributed to that environment, but has also influenced how people acquire and own farmland today.
Brandon then goes on to explain why investors should embrace volatility, and how important it is as a land owner to have equity in land and cash in hand to be able to make acquisitions and grow.
As the conversation winds down, Meb asks Brandon about his thoughts on technology and it’s impacts in agriculture. Brandon talks about it being an exciting development, allowing farming to be less labor intensive and freeing farmers to make higher value, broad scale decisions.
Brandon wraps up with a discussion of Ceres’ fund, and what is on the horizon for Ceres.
All this and more in episode 161, including a discussion about what keeps Brandon up at night and what he’s particularly excited about, as well as his most memorable investment.
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