Written Paper

‘Like gold with yield’: evolving intersections between farmland and finance  [2014]

Fairbairn, Madeleine

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Since 2007, capital markets have acquired a newfound interest in agricultural land as a portfolio investment. This phenomenon is examined through the theoretical lens of financialization. On the surface the trend resembles a sort of financialization in reverse – many new investments involve agricultural production in addition to land ownership. Farmland also fits well into current financial discourses, which emphasize getting the right kind of exposure to long-term agricultural trends and ‘value investing’ in genuinely productive companies. However, capital markets' current affinity for farmland also represents significant continuity with the financialization era, particularly in the treatment of land as a financial asset. Capital gains are central to current farmland investments, both as a source of inflation hedging growth and of potentially large speculative profits. New types of farmland investment management organizations (FIMOs) are emerging, including from among large farmland operators that formerly valued land primarily as a productive asset. Finally, the first tentative steps toward the securitization of farmland demonstrate the potential for a much more complete financialization of farmland in the future.

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Journal of peasant studies

ISSN : 1743-9361