Farmland Partners lands $127m loan from MetLife

The publicly traded REIT will use the financing to pay down debt and buy US farmland.

Publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) Farmland Partners has secured $127 million in debt financing from MetLife to make acquisitions and pay down existing debt.

Roughly $32 million from the agreement will go towards the recently closed acquisition of 7,400 acres of Louisiana Farmland, a deal Agri Investor first reported on in December 2015.

“We are pleased to announce our new relationship with one of the nation’s largest agricultural lenders,” said Paul Pittman, chief executive of Farmland Partners.

“After a busy first quarter in which we closed on acquisitions of over 32,700 acres for total consideration of nearly $240 million, our new relationship with MetLife will allow us to continue to put capital to work toward the numerous opportunities in our pipeline that we believe will offer attractive returns to our investors.”

The REIT has actively pursued a scaling up strategy  to not only build margins, but also as a means to gain attractive financing terms support the company’s growth strategy. Pittman told Agri Investor in November the REIT hoped to use 22,300 acres of newly acquired farmland as collateral to secure $100 million in new lending.

An executive for MetLife, one of the US’ largest agri lenders, told Agri Investor in February that the company planned to increase its $13 billion agri portfolio and add to its 3,800 outstanding loans to the sector.

Since going public in an April 2014 IPO, Farmland Partners has increased its farmland holdings to more than 108,000 acres spread across 258 farms, from roughly 7,300 acres on 38 farms.