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The $713m pension’s search is being led by Segal Macro Advisors, which advised the Cambridge Retirement Board on a similar 2017 search resulting in a $15m commitment to the Hancock Timberland and Farmland Fund.
Illinois SURS will commit $225m to real asset classes including ag while 20% of all new capital deployed will target firms owned by minorities, females and persons with disabilities.
Founder John Farris said the direct investment platform has already secured three commitments, including one from a large Asian institution.
The fund will make investments ranging between $10-$50 million in farmland growing fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts.
The 2019 Agri Investor Forum in Chicago was marked by a clear sense of momentum even if an overall direction for the market seemed harder to discern.
Chief executive Tom Eisenhauer says a strong pipeline leaves his firm confident it can deploy capital quickly across Canada’s farmland markets.
Institutional investors would like to deploy more capital into agriculture but a lack of experience among GPs is giving LPs pause for thought, the Agri Investor Chicago Forum 2019 heard.
An upcoming real asset structure review will consider a proposed build-out that could initially include up to four natural resources commitments of between $75m and $500m annually through 2024.
New Jersey Division of Investment and Rhode Island State Investment Authority are among investors to have made commitments towards the farmland fund.
Managing partner David Chattleton says for the 'first time in six to seven years' it is an ideal moment to deploy equity, after raising $60m for two ag funds.
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