Gladstone Land (Nasdaq stock symbol: LAND) invests in farms and farmland. The real estate investment trust (REIT) owns approximately 75 farms and 63,000 acres of land across nine states. Its land portfolio is valued at approximately $537 million and is 99.7% leased. The farmland owned by Gladstone Land is primarily used to grow fresh fruits and vegetables, rather than commodity crops like corn, wheat, and soybeans. The advantages of fresh produce farms are higher productivity and rents. Also, there is no tariff risk since production from Gladstone farms is consumed domestically and rarely exported.
The market for farmland is highly fragmented in the United States. In addition, roughly two-thirds of American farmers are nearing retirement age, creating many farm acquisition opportunities for Gladstone Land.
Gladstone had its initial public offering (IPO) in 2013 and pays monthly dividends. Farm portfolio growth and annual rent increases have fueled 11 dividend increases over five years and approximately 48% dividend growth.
How To Invest In Farming & Buy Farmland Without Owning A Farm
Investing in farming can seem like a good strategic move for real estate and land investors. After all, whether the overall economy is in recession or booming, people still have to eat food. Because of this, many real estate and land investors regard agriculture and farming investments as being recession-proof. Furthermore, as the world’s population increases, farming will play an increasingly important role in sustaining people around the world. That said, buying a farm is not very easy for the average investor because it can require a large capital commitment and the time and cost of operating or leasing farmland is often substantial. Fortunately, real estate and land investors have many other means to gain exposure to the sector without having to actually buy a farm.
Farmland Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT)
The closest that an investor can get to owning a farm without actually purchasing farmland is by investing in a farming focused real estate investment trust (REIT). Some examples include Farmland Partners Inc. (New York Stock Exchange symbol: FPI) and Gladstone Land Corporation (Nasdaq stock symbol: LAND).
These real estate investment trusts (REIT) typically purchase farmland and then lease it to farmers. Farmland real estate investment trusts (REIT) offer many benefits, such as providing much more farmland diversification than by simply buying a single farm, as they allow an investor to have interests in multiple farms across a wide geographic region.
Farmland real estate investment trusts (REIT) also offer greater liquidity than does owning physical farmland, as shares in most of these real estate investment trusts (REIT) can be quickly bought and sold on stock exchanges for as little as $4.95 in commissions with a stock broker such as Charles Schwab. In addition, farmland real estate investment trusts (REIT) such as Gladstone Land (Nasdaq stock symbol: LAND) also decrease the amount of capital needed to invest in farmland, as the minimum investment is just the price of one real estate investment trust (REIT) share (or less if you use a stock broker that allows fractional shares). In other words, you can become an indirect farmland part owner for less than $100 United States dollars.