Brief: $171M Washington State Farmland Deal The Largest in U.S. This Year
An investor has recently paid $171 million to acquire 14,500 acres of mixed irrigated and non-irrigated farmland in southwest Benton County in Washington State from Boston-based John Hancock Life Insurance Company, who bought the parcel in 2010 for $75 million. Records indicate that the land consists of 10,500 acres of irrigated farmland, 3,900 acres of rangeland, and 140 acres of land categorized under other uses such as pasture.
The sizeable deal, which closed on August 28, 2018, reflects the growing appeal of farmland on the Columbia-Snake system and in the Mid-Columbia region, which offers high-quality land with water rights, a built-up infrastructure for transporting crops by truck, barge, and rail, and access to extensive food processing capabilities, reports the Tri-City Herald.
The price for the land – which grows potatoes, sweet corn, and wheat – also is indicative of the potential for return on investment in the asset class, with the selling price more than double John Hancock’s purchase price only eight years ago.
The buyer’s identity is shrouded through multiple corporate layers. However, through the connections between Delaware-based 100C LLC, to Angelina Agriculture Company, to Cottonwood Ag Management based in Kirkland, Washington, The Land Report has concluded that name behind the transaction is Bill Gates.
Moving forward, the parcel will continue to be farmed, and will be managed by property management firm Oak River Farms.