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MainePERS eyes further agri investment after $210m spree

The US pension fund has invested in three funds since August including US Farming Realty Trust III, Paine & Partners Fund IV and ACM Permanent Crops fund.

Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MainePERS), the $12.5 billion pension fund, has committed $210 million to agriculture in the last seven months through three fund investments. And the fund is likely to boost its agri portfolio further although the “timing and size is not cast in stone”, Andrew Sawyer, chief investment officer of the fund told Agri Investor in an email.

Its most recent allocation to agri, which sits within its 5 percent natural resources allocation, was a $100 million commitment to US Farming Realty Trust III, a commodity row crop farmland fund sponsored by IFC Investment Management.

MainePERS is also an investor in the Paine & Partners Capital Fund IV, the $893 million food and agribusiness private equity fund, which closed in January. The pension fund committed $60 million to the oversubscribed vehicle. Sawyer told Agri Investor that his team submitted a subscription document to the fund in December for the recommended amount and it was accepted.

The fund’s first presence in private market agriculture investment dates back to August where the board approved a $50 million commitment to the ACM Permanent Crops fund, a vertically-integrated US private equity fund that closed on $250 million in January.

Saywer told Agri Investor that the pension fund has no particular target sub-sector in agribusiness; water, agtech or food safety, “everything is attractive at some price”, Sawyer said in an email. No sector or sub-sector allocations under natural resources have been set.