Angus Selby, former managing director of agricultural funds at Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, has joined Omaha-headquartered Clear Frontier Ag Management.
According to Clear Frontier’s website, Selby is as a strategic advisor, which was founded in 2019 and describes itself as an agricultural management company focused on sustainable farming.
A market source told Agri Investor Selby left MIRA in October 2019. Selby, Clear Frontier and Macquarie declined to comment.
MIRA hired Selby in January 2018 following a three-year stint at Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which ended shortly before the sale of CPPIB’s farmland portfolio to entities connected to Bill Gates. According to his LinkedIn profile, Selby’s role as senior principal for agriculture at CPPIB included development and leadership of the Canadian pension’s global strategy for farmland and agricultural investments.
Selby’s role with CPPIB came after two years as principal and portfolio manager for agriculture at London-headquartered Altima Partners, following earlier ag-related positions with Morgan Stanley, Pegasys Strategy and Development and Deloitte, according to his profile.
Chicago-headquartered S2G Ventures confirmed in an email to Agri Investor that the firm invested in Clear Frontier in 2019 after “several years” of research on the farmland market. S2G executives are listed on a March 2019 regulatory filing filed by Clear Frontier, which showed $1.5 million raised from one investor into a vehicle with a target of $3 million.
One of those executives – Aaron Rudberg – introduced Clear Frontier as an S2G portfolio company in a podcast with founder Justin Bruch. Bruch added Clear Frontier buys North American farmland that it leases to family farmers interested in conversion to organic production.
“Our goal is to help local farmers that want to do farming differently than the traditional system to be able to expand their operation and have a long-term investor partner in that business, that will allow them to expand as their operations grow and [allow] family members to come back and be a part of that farm,” he explained.
Clear Frontier’s team owns and manages 3,000 acres across six farms at various stages of transition to organic and regenerative organic production, according to a description on S2G’s website.
It details the conversion of Silver Reef Organic Farms, a 1,700-acre property in Wellington, Colorado planted in grains, beans and fodder. Practice changes related to the owners’ work with Clear Frontier on the property were described as including a switch from cow to chicken manure as fertilizer, adding 400 acres of radishes as cover crops and rotating a portion of the property into alfalfa to help control pests, sequester carbon and boost yields.
On its website, Clear Frontier describes how limited direct ownership of farmland and financial challenges resulting from the three-year transition to organic production have slowed the pace of organic conversions in the US. It notes very few of the existing row crop investment platforms incorporate ESG as a “core element” of their investment strategies, and described Clear Frontier as willing to share the “risk and burden of transition alongside growers.”