Ex-Hancock exec ‘boomerangs’ back to Scythe & Spade

Brett MacNeil returns to the manager he founded as he yearns for agility and focus after a stint at a large firm.

Brett MacNeil: ‘Time to get back to my roots’

Brett MacNeil, who founded Scythe & Spade in 1998, has rejoined the Idaho-based ag investment firm as president and chief operating officer.

MacNeil returns after a three-year stint as director of acquisitions at Hancock Agricultural Investing Group that ended in June. That role saw him oversee an agricultural real estate portfolio including properties in the US, Australia and Canada valued at $2.8 billion at the end of 2016. He previously spent 16 years at Scythe & Spade and since June has worked independently as a global agricultural real estate consultant.

MacNeil said his departure from HAIG was voluntary and that he was excited to “boomerang” back to Scythe & Spade with a new perspective.

“After four years of hard work, deep dives into large-firm business strategy and a lot of lessons learned, I realized it was time to get back to my roots,” MacNeil said. “I am excited to be back and to apply what I’ve learned, to be aggressive where I see others unable to transact or are holding back, and to ultimately build a regionally focused B2B company with significant depth of experience, resources and results.”

Pure and nimble 

Scythe & Spade says it has paired financial investors with agricultural operators in “hundreds of millions” of investments in American agriculture, designed to support growth while offering both income and appreciation.

The near-term focus of Scythe & Spade, according to the firm, will be to convince investors that they should trust an agile, expert manager, in an approach it said was “pushing in the opposite direction” of MacNeil’s experience with a large firm.

“By developing a broad and deep network, we can offer flexibility and immediate value to clients as we can quickly scale up to provide answers and solutions to complication questions and needs in the multi-faceted agribusiness and real estate transactions,” MacNeil said.

Hancock did not return messages seeking detail about MacNeil’s replacement as  director of acquisitions.