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Halderman and USAG merger offers co-mingled strategy – exclusive

Halderman, an agri-focused general partner whose institutional clients include the New Mexico Education Retirement Board, has merged with Hageman Group-backed US Agriculture.

Halderman Real Asset Management, an agri-focused general partner whose institutional clients include the New Mexico Education Retirement Board (NMERB), has merged with US Agriculture, a newcomer firm founded last year by asset manager firm the Hageman Group.

Financial details were not disclosed, but the firm, now based at Halderman’s Indiana offices and known as US Agriculture (USAG), will develop co-mingled investment strategies — probably funds — on top of the separately managed accounts service now provided by Halderman.

Managing Partner Anatole Pevnev, who helped set up USAG, described the merger as an extension of a long-standing relationship between the Hageman and the Halderman families behind both businesses.

“We started talking about this last summer,” Pevnev told Agri Investor, adding that the time it has taken to set up USAG and focus on the merger has meant that while it has lots of good relationships, it has yet to bring its own clients to the table. “The families, both of which have extensive agricultural capabilities, have known each other for decades, although they have focused on different aspects of agriculture.”

Steve Hageman co-founded Remington Seeds in 1984, interests that he later sold to an institutional investor, according to a press release issued by USAG. Hageman also has farming operations in Indiana and Texas producing seed corn and seed soybeans, as well as commercial wheat, corn, soybeans, milo, sorghum, rice, and alfalfa. The group ranches more than 3,000 cattle.

Halderman Real Asset Management manages permanent crop assets in the southeast and northwest, as well as its core row crop properties in the Midwest. Halderman also runs a real estate service, giving the real assets division key insight into transactions on the market and has two US pension fund clients, as well as a private European family office.

“A conversation with Halderman […] eventually evolved into a decision that we could probably work together better as a group because of synergy in terms of skills and relationships,” said Pevnev.

“There is not a lot of overlap in the relationship. The Hagemans and the Haldermans have relationships in slightly different sectors, so that really broadens the extent to which we can reach out to that [agriculture investment] universe. Perhaps the main thing with Halderman is that they bring us immediate access to acquisitions,” he added.

Howard Halderman has been appointed executive chairman on USAG’s board.

Former Halderman real asset management vice-president Adam Gore has been appointed portfolio management director, while its former vice-president and chief compliance officer David Martin has been appointed asset management director. Brian Wise, previously Halderman’s senior business development manager, is now director of acquisitions at USAG.

Arkansas Teacher Retirement System lists Halderman as one of its two asset managers for its $73 million agriculture portfolio, alongside UBS AgriVest.

Senior portfolio manager for real assets at NMERB, Mark Canavan, told Agri Investor earlier this year that the pension plan was likely to re-invest with Halderman, which it first mandated in 2011.