California pension makes first agri investment

MCERA approved a $7.5m commitment to Blue Road Capital, a real asset manager focused on agriculture.

Merced County, California’s Employee Retirement Association (MCERA) has approved a $7.5 million commitment to Blue Road Capital, its first agri investment. Blue Road is a real asset manager that focuses on agriculture.

Plan administrator Steven Bland told Agri Investor this is MCERA’s first agri investment in agri and third investment in real assets. Strategic Investment Solutions (SIS) in San Francisco is MCERA’s advisor.

Blue Road Capital invests into fully vertically-integrated operating companies. Its first investment was National Pecan Company which offers nationwide exposure to the permanent crop “providing diversification versus California-centric tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pistachios”. New Mexico Educational Retirement Board commited $30 million in December 2014.
According to filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in late May, Blue Road Capital raised around $96 million for this pooled investment fund from eight investors. The new commitment from MCERA brings the total amount raised to over $100 million.

Blue Road Capital declined to comment or provide any further information about the private equity fund.

MCERA has roughly $660 million of worth of assets under management.