FarmTogether Review: This Platform Is Reinventing How People Invest In Farmland

Updated: April 20, 2021
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One of the most important things you can do for your investment portfolio is to diversify the asset classes within it. As the saying goes, you don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket. Having your portfolio too heavily dependent on any one sector or company means you are taking on a lot of risk.

The tricky part here is figuring out what investments to add to your portfolio to get a healthy mix. There is a whole world of investments beyond stocks, funds, and bonds — like blue-chip art, commodities like gold and silver, real estate, and so much more. With FarmTogether you can get started in a sector that can be very lucrative — farmland real estate.

While technically a “real estate” investment, farmland historically has been a very stable investment because you both get access to a booming property type and several other revenue streams within the investment.

In this post, we’ll cover the benefits of adding farmland to your portfolio, what kind of farmland FarmTogether has to offer, how investing on the platform works, and how much you need to get started. So, let’s begin!

Table Of Contents

What Is FarmTogether?
Farmland As An Asset Class
What Kind Of Farmland Does FarmTogether Offer?
Ways To Invest On The Platform
Who Can Invest With FarmTogether?
What About Fees?
Signing Up And Making An Investment

What Is FarmTogether?

Founded in 2017 by Artem Milinchuk — who comes from a food and agricultural background — FarmTogether (not to be confused with the game with the same name) is a real estate crowdfunding investment platform that specializes in income-producing U.S. farmland, a $3 trillion dollar asset class. It’s also a passive investment (also known as buy-and-hold) platform, meaning you hold on to your investment long-term (between 5 to 10 years).

Milinchunck’s goal for the platform? To drastically democratize farmland investing.

All of the farmland offered on the platform is carefully vetted — they target land that can offer 7 to 13% in returns and 2 to 9% in cash yields (all net fees). The FarmTogether team believes so strongly in the land they curate for investors that they themselves invest in it too, and the platform partners with local farmland operators to manage the land on behalf of investors.

For the time being, the platform is only open to accredited investors (we’ll go into detail later about exactly what that means and about income and net worth requirements). That being said, FarmTogether says it is actively researching ways to further democratize farmland investing to allow a broader pool of people to invest.

Farmland As An Asset Class

Investing in farmland may seem like an out-there choice, but it’s a profitable one and a safer bet than a lof the more well-known investment types.

Milinchunk, in an interview, explained: “From 1970 to 2018, farmland has returned more than 12% annually as a composition of both price appreciation and current income…Farmland has remarkable low risk. It has about 7% of management volatility, and the capital preservation aspect is really strong.”

It’s no wonder that top investors have gravitated towards investing in farmland as of late. Bill Gates is now one of the biggest private owners of farmland in the United States and Warren Buffet, in a letter to his investors in 2014, described farmland as an investment that has “no downside and potentially substantial upside.”

Why is this exactly? Think about the theory of supply and demand. The amount of farmland available in the U.S. is decreasing each year. Meanwhile, the global population is continuing to grow. Food (and other agricultural goods) are increasingly in demand, making farmland a valuable asset class.

Of course, no investment is without risk, and with farmland specifically, anything from changes in weather patterns to international trade policies to fire, disease, and pests can affect the production and sale of crops, and therefore the value of the farmland. Still, farmland has proven to be a low-risk, high-return investment over time.

In previous decades, the only people who had access to the profits that farmland reaps were largely wealthy landowners. That’s not the case anymore. Now, you can buy stocks in agricultural companies and companies in other supporting industries. You can invest in farmland through Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), as well as agricultural exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, futures contracts and exchange-traded notes (ETNs), and more.

And for those who want to maximize the returns farmland has to offer, there is now the option to invest directly into farmland via private equity or, if you have the means, through direct purchase, both of which are options with FarmTogether.

What Kind Of Farmland Does FarmTogether Offer?

Right now, FarmTogether has a limited and specific selection of available farmland on offer. According to its website, the platform typically looks for permanent crops — like fruits and tree nuts — in California and the Pacific Northwest, seeking out land with strong water availability and high-grade soil. That being said, they do survey properties across the country to try and provide a diverse selection for investors.

Check FarmTogether’s website to see what investment opportunities are currently available.

Ways To Invest On The Platform

FarmTogether provides two ways to invest with the platform: crowdfunded farmland offerings and sole ownership bespoke offerings.

What’s the difference? Here’s a breakdown:

Crowdfunded Farmland Offerings

  • For this option, you can become a partial owner of a farm, sharing in its profits
  • Investment offerings are available to accredited investors (see below on exactly what that means) with low minimums starting at $10,000 but typically $15,000
  • FarmTogether may utilize leverage to improve the offering’s returns
  • Hold Periods starting from 5 years with annual liquidity windows for earlier exits
  • Ineligible for 1031 Exchanges
  • Simple and low fees

Sole Ownership Bespoke Offerings

  • With this option, you can become the sole owner of a farm
  • Farmland sourced for individual investors who seek sole ownership and are willing to invest $1,000,000+ in equity per farm
  • Fully customizable legal, tax, and capital structure. Hold period, risk-return profile, and cash yield profiles are at the sole discretion of the investor
  • Eligible for 1031 Exchanges
  • Custom fees aligned with the deal structure

Investors can track and monitor the performance of their investments via projections, payout comparisons, distribution history, K-1 tax forms and more, all available in their account overview

Investors will receive earnings from the land they have a stake in after the hold period for it and from ongoing income payments from crop sales, which are made on a quarterly, semi-annual, and annual basis directly into an investor’s bank account. Investors can track all of their upcoming distributions and payments to date through their accounts.

Who Can Invest With FarmTogether?

Not everyone is able to invest with FarmTogether — though again, the platform says they are working to expand their offerings. Currently, to invest on the FarmTogether platform you have to be one of the following:

  • An accredited investor – Someone whose annual income for the last two years exceeds $200,000 individually (or $300,000 jointly), with the expectation you will earn the same or more in the current year. You must also have a net worth greater than $1 million (individually or jointly), excluding the value of your home.
  • A registered investment advisor (RIA) – A person or firm that specifically advises and manages investment portfolios for individuals.
  • A wealth manager – A type of financial advisor that works with high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals on portfolio management, accounting, estate planning, retirement planning, tax services, and more.
  • A bank, insurance company, business development company, or small business – A business can invest with the platform if all of the business’ equity owners are accredited investors or if its total assets are over $5 million. The $5 million benchmark also applies to employee benefit plans — self-directed Income Retirement Plans (IRA) and Self-Employed 401ks (Solo 401k) — trusts, charitable organizations, and partnerships.

What About Fees?

FarmTogether doesn’t charge any fixed fees. Instead, fees vary from deal to deal and can be viewed on the investment opportunity page of each farmland offer. There is a one-time origination fee and an annual management fee. Both are dependent on an offers’ total deal size.

So for example, FarmTogether’s offering, Deer Creek Pistachio Orchard, which has an offering size of nearly $3.2 million, has a 2% origination fee and a 1.5% annual management fee. Meanwhile, Fawn Creek Pistachio Orchard, which has an offering size of nearly $2.4 million, has a 2% origination fee and a 1% annual management fee.

Signing Up And Making An Investment

Signing up is easy. Just navigate to the homepage and hit the sign-up button. You’ll be taken through a multiple-choice questionnaire to assess what kind of investor you are, your investing experience and how strong your intent is to invest with the platform.

Once you finish with that, you’ll be asked to provide your first name, last name, and email address. On the next page, you’ll be asked to confirm your email address with a code that will be sent to it, create a password and provide a phone number. From there, you can access the FarmTogether website in full and view details about current offers on their individual pages and summaries for past offers.

So what will you see on an offer page? A lot! Below is a list of just some of the things you’ll be able to access:

  • An overview of the land, including exact size, valuation, further development plans for it, and a financial summary
  • Due diligence materials, including production history and a property’s water access
  • An earnings projections calculator you can play with to see what your net return could be depending on your investment amount
  • The hold period
  • A detailed written report (and webinar video) on the commodity being grown on the farmland, including historical performance
  • A breakdown of fees and the land’s ownership structure
  • Important documents related to the property, including operating partner details and private placement memorandums

Once you’ve had a chance to look over all of the information provided on an offer’s page and have decided you want to invest, scroll back to the top of the page to that calculator to set your desired investment amount (if there is still opportunity to invest) and hit the “Add To Cart” button.

You’ll be asked to confirm whether you are a U.S. person (citizen or resident) or non-U.S. person and will be told what identification you will need to provide to confirm your identity — like your social security number (SSN) or taxpayer identification number (TIN) — to complete the transaction. Then you’ll connect the investment account to your bank account and sign the deal agreement.

If you have questions about a property you can’t find the answers to on an offer page, you can schedule a call or use the chat feature on the site.

Final Thoughts

In the last few years, we have witnessed the democratization of investing across the board. FarmTogether has really taken the idea one step further, allowing investors to easily purchase an asset type that has been largely out of reach for most. While there are still restrictions as far as who can invest in FarmTogether, it will be exciting to watch this space to see how the company continues to open up the asset class to investors down the line.

Get started with FarmTogether here.