Agriculture investment requires a significant amount of experience or capital upfront. That’s why founders and military veterans Chris Rawley and Austin Maness started Harvest Returns to remove those barriers to entry, making both the funding and investment process easier.
Harvest Returns, a financial technology company founded in 2016, will launch its agriculture investment platform this month. In the platform’s equity partnership format, agriculture producers and landowners are able to collect capital and maintain control over their operations, while investors passively fund them and collect returns from harvests.
Agriculture producers submit their operations to Harvest Returns to be selected as a private placement on the platform. Investors are able to view the details of each opportunity on the platform and select the deal they want to invest in. Investment minimums are as low as $5,000. Investors will receive regular updates on the progress of their investments, annual distributions once crops are harvested, and have easy access to tax documents. Agriculture producers receive their funding after the full amount of their deal is raised; most deals range between $500,000 to a few million dollars.
Agriculture investments have many advantages. They are a relatively low risk way to diversify a portfolio because the 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.
“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 CEO Rawley. “Plus, we are bringing them closer to the hard working farmers who grow their food.”
Harvest Returns does not have location-specific requirements, but rather focuses on the financial benefit of a specific deal and the grower’s historical success with their product. The company currently has agreements in place to list agriculture investments in Texas, Arizona, Florida, Brazil, and Belize. Increasing consumer interest to know where food originates and how it is produced is an important consideration for many investors.
“People are starting to care more and more about where their food comes from, so an investor could choose to invest in a producer in their state or region,” said COO Maness. “When they receive regular updates on that investment, they are not getting only a financial benefit, but also an emotional one that connects them more to their community.”