Manulife acquires two permanent cropping assets exceeding 1,400 acres in Fresno, California

Global AgInvesting | 18 October 2022

Manulife acquires two permanent cropping assets exceeding 1,400 acres in Fresno, California
By Lynda Kiernan-Stone
Manulife Investment Management (MIM) has acquired two permanent crop farming assets in Fresno, California, on behalf of investors, including a 500-acre almond, pistachio, and citrus orchard, and a second pistachio orchard of approximately 900 acres. 
These assets will be added to MIM’s existing portfolio of 400,000 acres of managed farmland across agricultural regions in Chile, the U.S., Canada, and Australia, held as part of a comprehensive private market strategy that also oversees approximately 6 million acres of timberland across the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, and Chile. 
Located in California’s Central Valley, a key national agricultural and tree nut production region, these orchards bring favorable high-quality water rights, and are in close proximity to existing farmland properties being managed by MIM’s integrated farmland management operations. More directly, they add to MIM’s current 22,500 acres of directly operated pistachio and citrus orchards located throughout California, creating beneficial economies of scale.
Just last month, Michelle Pelletier Marshall, Women in Agribusiness Media, interviewed  Danielle Harris, regional acquisitions manager, MIM, and Molly Thurman, water resources manager, MIM, to discuss their efforts to secure properties that meet investor objectives and complement current MIM agricultural holdings, with a focus on acquisitions in California—from tree nuts to citrus to wine grapes.
Harris noted, “…it really comes down to the culture that we stand by in the field, which is ‘do the right thing, even when no one’s looking.’ Our intent is to buy investments for our investors that meet their expectations and long-term goals. To do that, we need to set up our farm operations team to be successful by buying high-quality assets.”
Later commenting, “Sustainable management of resources is absolutely at the forefront of our minds when we’re thinking, not only about new acquisitions, but about the ongoing management of our clients’ properties.”
“I would say that on a transaction level, we strive to treat every counter-party that we come across with the same amount of respect—whether it’s a farmer who owns 100 acres, or a large institutional investor with thousands of acres—at the end of the day, we are one community,” noted Harris. “It’s really important for us to be good neighbors, to be good stewards, to treat everyone we come across with respect.”
Commenting on this latest addition to the MIM portfolio, Oliver Williams, global head of agriculture investments, said, “We are proud to add these high-quality orchards to our permanent crop portfolio, managed by our experienced direct-operation team of agricultural professionals, for the benefit of our investors.”
“We believe that orchards, as a nature-based solution, can provide both economic returns to our investor clients along with social and environmental benefits. Producing healthy, nutritious food while responsibly managing these natural resources can also contribute positively to vibrant rural communities, such as the ones surrounding these investments.”
  •   GAI
  • 18 October 2022

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