New Agriculture’s Lawson Grains buys Jemalong from Optifarm

The acquisition of Jemalong continues the expansion of Lawson Grains’ portfolio, with co-investor AIMCo keen to continue building out its Australian farmland assets.

New Agriculture, the agriculture investment arm of Sydney-headquartered asset manager New Forests, has added Jemalong Station in New South Wales to its growing portfolio of farmland assets.

The acquisition was made by Lawson Grains, the company acquired from Macquarie Asset Management by New Forests and co-investor Alberta Investment Management Corporation in 2021. New Forests subsequently established New Agriculture, headed by Bruce King, to oversee that portfolio and its expansion.

The acquisition of Jemalong Station sees New Agriculture add a 13,500 ha mixed farming enterprise to the portfolio. The asset is currently used for growing cotton, cereals, oilseeds and fodder, as well as grazing for beef cattle, wool and lamb production. It has received extensive irrigation development alongside its dryland cropping and perennial pasture areas.

The seller of the asset is Dutch investor Optifarm, which itself purchased it from Twynam Agricultural Group in 2018. The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. A spokeswoman for New Agriculture said the firm could not comment on transactions still awaiting approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Earlier this year, Lawson Grains added the Green Park Aggregation in the southern Riverina region of NSW to its portfolio in a deal worth more than A$35 million ($22 million ;€20 million).

In September 2022, shortly after the launch of New Agriculture, New Forests new CEO Mark Rogers told Agri Investor that the firm intended for Lawson Grains to be a platform upon which further acquisitions could be made.

“The very near-term opportunity is to continue to work with AIMCo and build out the Lawson Grains platform. AIMCo has dry powder, they want to invest more and diversify the portfolio – so there is room to do that within Lawson but also outside the portfolio,” he said.