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Summit Agriculture Group raising third farmland fund

The $60m vehicle is the third farmland fund from the Iowa-based firm, which is also active in pork and Brazilian ethanol.

Iowa-based Summit Agricultural Group has launched its third farmland fund, according to a filing made Wednesday.

Summit Ag Fund III has a target of $60 million and has raised $200,000 from one investor since its first sale on June 21, the filing showed.

“We have assembled a diverse and high-performing agricultural real estate portfolio,” the company said on its website. “Summit Ag Funds were formed as a means of making this portfolio available for direct investment opportunities in the form of ten-year growth cycles based on cash rents and land appreciation.”

SAG’s first farmland investing vehicle, Summit Ag Fund I, closed on $32.8 million in 2010, according to the firm’s website, before going on to invest in 56 farms across four US states. That fund, according to the website, secured unspecified “significant” returns through lease income and capital appreciation and is currently marketing properties for sale.

The next fund in the series, Summit Ag Fund II, closed on $41.3 million in 2012, according to the website. For Fund II, SAG’s website said the firm pursued a strategy that included the purchase, development and leasing of farmland and related infrastructure in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The firm is also active in pork, wind energy and biofuels. In 2014, SAG launched Summit Brazil Renewables I to support its investments in the corn ethanol industry in the South American country. That vehicle, which has a target of $150 million according to a 2015 filing, has raised $70 million, according to SAG’s website.

SAG’s founder and chief executive officer Bruce Rastetter is active in national politics and served as an agricultural advisor for President Donald Trump’s transition team.

In an April opinion piece published in the Des Moines Register, Rastetter outlined his opposition to the ongoing consolidation in the agricultural industry, namely the Bayer/Monsanto and Dow/DuPont mergers. Rastetter noted that allowing the mergers to proceed would make it harder for farmers to secure seeds and chemicals and stifle innovative research.

“I clearly understand the motivation for the desired consolidation by these four giants, given their intention to increase shareholder value via higher profits,” Rastetter wrote. “However, I do not believe these profits should come at the expense of an industry so critical to the American economy and our international trading partners. Free markets operate most effectively with healthy competition, but I fear this dynamic would be compromised should these mergers be allowed to move forward.”