US tech firm to launch ‘passive’ agri investment platform

The company is set to list farmland, ranch and timberland opportunities across the Americas worth up to a few million dollars.

Stubble Field full of Hay Bales - Stock Image

Harvest Returns, a technology business based in Texas, this month will launch a platform allowing investors to passively inject equity into agriculture ventures.

The one-year-old company will pre-select fundable projects from submissions by producers, after which investors will be able to review ventures in detail and choose the ones they wish to sponsor. Once farmers’ schemes are up and running, equity backers then collect returns from harvests, with producers retaining control over the operations.

Harvest Returns does not specify where agri projects must be located, preferring to review submissions on the “financial benefit” of specific deals and the “grower’s historical success with their product,” it emphasized in a statement.

“By combining the benefits of agriculture with the ease of our investment platform, we are providing access to a larger pool of investors to farmland, ranchland and timberland ownership,” said Chris Rawley, the company’s chief executive.

The initiative deliberately sets a low threshold for equity cheques’ required sizes, with investment minimums set at $5,000. Most deals tend to range between $500,000 and a few million dollars, the company said, without specifying how many investors would typically get involved in a single deal.

The firm had not responded to a request for further comments on investors’ anticipated profiles at the time of going to press.

Harvest Returns was founded last year by two army veterans wishing to “democratize the agriculture investment process with an equity partnership format,” the company stated. It currently has agreements in place to list agriculture investments in Texas, Arizona, Florida, Brazil and Belize.

“Land is a tangible asset that increases in value over time and is not correlated to the stock market. Historically, returns from farmland investments have outperformed stocks, bonds, golds and other asset classes,” Rawley noted.