Changing demographics driving responsible investment trend

Changing demographics is driving a trend by next-generation landowners to manage for appreciation and create sustainability through socially responsible farming practices, according to a whitepaper from land brokerage Peoples Company.

“Socially responsible farmland investment is an approach to dealing with the ‘wicked’ problem of feeding nine billion people but doing so in a manner that does not destroy the environment or disrupt the social fabric of the local communities,” reads a new whitepaper from Peoples Company, a provider of agricultural land brokerage, land management, land appraisal and land investing services in the Midwest.

In the white paper, Socially Responsible Farmland Investment, Michael Duffy, professor of Economics at Iowa State University, and Steve Bruere, president of Peoples Company, look at the history of interest in farmland as an investment. Why are there increasing concerns from investors now? What demographic shifts are occurring in farmland ownership? And when does socially responsible farmland investment come into play?

Five major areas to use as guidelines for responsible investment in farmland include promoting environmental sustainability, respecting labour and human rights, respecting existing land and resource rights, upholding high business and ethical standards and reporting publicly about what a group is doing to promote and implement the principles, according to Principles for Responsible Investment in Farmland which is cited by the white paper.

“By increasing productivity to get the most out of the best acres while protecting the environmentally sensitive land, we can produce enough in agriculture to feed, fuel and clothe a fast-growing world in a socially responsible way,” writes Bruere in the report.

The paper also includes interviews with high population corn farmers, plus articles on multi-hybrid planters, beginning farmer programmes from the Iowa Agricultural Development Division and new technology conservation practices from the Iowa Soybean Association.

Read Socially Responsible Farmland Investment.