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Illinois liquidates agriculture holding

The Illinois State Board of Investment is terminating its only investment mandate in the asset class with no plans to make new agri-related investments.

The $15 billion Illinois State Board of Investment (ISBI) is terminating an agriculture investment mandate with Cozad/Westchester, the joint venture between Cozad Asset Management and Westchester Group, according to minutes of a recent board meeting.

At the end of September the mandate was worth $46.6 million; ISBI has been building this allocation since the 1980s when it first invested into row crop farms, according to Scott Richards, senior portfolio manager at ISBI.

The fund is now considering ways to exit its agriculture holdings and has no plans to make additional investments into the sector, according to Richards.

“This investment accounted for 0.3 percent of the total portfolio value and with current [land] valuations and no additional agriculture investments, it appeared to be a good time to exit the area,” he told Agri Investor.

Cozad/Westchester, which no longer appears to have a dedicated website, did not respond to requests for comment.