Real Growth, Resiliency, and Diversification through Agriculture

Everyone needs a place to live and EVERYONE needs to eat. 

In good times and bad, we all need food. For centuries, agriculture has been synonymous with wealth and productivity. 

(Maybe that’s why they call it “produce!”) 

Agriculture relies on real estate. It also provides investors with an opportunity to create cash flow from cash crops. 

So, we’re revisiting the opportunities in agriculture … even in the midst of a rapidly changing world. 

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, hear from:

  • Your high-growth host, Robert Helms
  • His fruity co-host, Russell Gray
  • Agricultural investing expert, David Smith

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Opportunities in agriculture

We love all kinds of real estate investing, and we’re spending a few weeks talking about what you might consider to be alternative investments. 

Today, we’re talking about a real estate investment that can make a ton of sense if you’ll just open your mind … agricultural real estate. 

Agriculture was THE original use of land. People have been investing in agriculture for thousands of years. 

Agriculture produces something of high value … food and commodities for textiles! 

The population is increasing. Everyone born needs calories … and yet the resources to produce calories across the globe are either diminishing or the costs are increasing. 

So, today we see lots of opportunity in the agricultural space. 

If you will, your tenants are trees … so things like tenant and landlord law go out the window. 

And you don’t have to get the geographic market as exactly right as you do when you’re buying an apartment building.  

Agriculture also offers an opportunity to diversify some of the risks that are present in other assets during changing times. 

What does agriculture investing look like today?

David Smith is an agricultural investing expert. Why does he think people should consider agriculture?

“First and foremost is the diversification of your investment portfolio,” David says. “Also, agriculture in general creates generational wealth.”

Agriculture is a long-term investment in many cases. You’re looking at 10, 20, or even 25 years of producing … while most tenants typically stay a year or two. 

When you think about agriculture, you may envision fields with corn or wheat or rice. But a lot of commercial produce grows better in a greenhouse. 

“You just have to open your mind to see that agriculture doesn’t mean just rows out on a highway. There’s lots of different kinds of agriculture,” David says. 

So, part of agriculture is picking the right market and product for you. 

Paraguay

Let’s talk about markets. There are areas of the world that are just more prone to agriculture. 

“It’s just as important to pick the right product and the right country,” David says. 

David’s team focuses, for example, on Paraguay. Paraguay exports produce all around the world. But David and his team work with the internal market within the country. 

Paraguay has more freshwater than any country in the world by way of aquifers and rivers. It also has very small changes in climate. 

There are about six weeks of winter that take place between August and September. Then, it goes right back to warm weather … making it conducive to growing year round. 

The land in Paraguay is also very fertile. “You can grow anything,” David says. 

In farmland, the composition of the soil is critical. You need to know the nutrients, the density, and what is going to grow well there. It can also help you determine the best tactics for pest control. 

David’s team uses a unique strategy in Paraguay. Instead of exporting to other countries, they focus on selling in the local markets. 

Paraguay currently imports large amounts of food. But by growing locally, David and his team can sell their produce locally for a lower price than the imported products and carve out a solid piece of the market for themselves. 

Getting started in agriculture investing

So, how does investing with an organization like David’s work? 

There are currently two investments … oranges and greenhouses. And there are two main components. 

The first component is simply a real estate transaction. 

“You have a  purchase contract for buying land. Then, the land is dismembered from the main master plan of the plantation. A new title is created in your name or the legal entity that you prefer to use,” David says. 

The second component is the farm service agreement … an agreement between the investor and the farming company to operate the plantation and care for your land and your crops, harvest the produce, and take it to market. 

From that point on, it becomes a completely passive, hands-off investment. 

“The only exception is in the case of greenhouses where after 10 years, an additional amount has to be paid for refurbishing and renovation,” David says.  

The greenhouses aren’t the small backyard version you are familiar with … each is 6/10 of an acre!

In the greenhouses, David’s team is growing vegetables that are used in almost every meal in Paraguay … tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. These can grow year-round and offer year-round cashflow.

The oranges on the other hand are a once a year crop with a large once a year payout.  

Essentially, these are a hard asset, passive turnkey investment.

To learn more about agriculture investing … listen to the full episode!


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Now the Fed’s up to $400 billion …

Last week the Fed pumped over $200 billion of freshly printed cash into the repo market.

Since then, the Fed’s upped the ante to $400 billion … and counting.

For those young or asleep during the 2008 financial crisis …

… back then, the Fed provided an infusion of $85 billion per month to keep the wheels on the financial system bus.

Today, they’re pumping in nearly that much PER DAY.

That’s MIND-BOGGLING.

They’re trying to keep interest rates DOWN to their target. Of course, interest rates matter to real estate investors. We typically like them low.

But this isn’t about real estate. It’s more about banks who hold debt (both mortgages and bonds) on their balance sheets.

As we explained last time, when interest rates rise, bond values fall

… and a leveraged financial system with bonds as collateral is EXTREMELY vulnerable to collapse if values drop and margin calls trigger panic selling.

The Fed seems willing to print as many dollars as necessary to stop it.

And that brings us to an important question …

If the Fed can simply conjure $400 billion out of thin air in just a week … is it really money?

This matters to everyone working and investing to make or save money.

For help, we draw on lessons learned from our good friend and multi-time Investor Summit at Sea™ faculty member, G. Edward Griffin.

Ed’s best known as the author of The Creature from Jekyll Island. If you haven’t read it yet, you probably should. It’s a controversial, but important exposé on the Fed.

In his presentation in Future of Money and Wealth, Ed does a masterful job explaining what money is … and isn’t.

In short, money is a store of energy.

Think about it …

When you work … or hire or rent to people who do … the energy expended produces value in the form of a product or service someone is willing to trade for.

When you trade product for product, it’s called barter. But it’s hard to wander around town with your cow in tow looking to trade for a pair of shoes.

So money acts as both a store of value and a medium of exchange.

The value of the energy expended to create the product is now denominated in money which the worker, business owner, or investor can trade for the fruits of other people’s labor.

This exchange of value is economic activity.

Money in motion is called currency. It’s a medium of transporting energy. Just like electricity.

When each person in the circuit receives money, they expect it has retained its (purchasing) power or value.

When it doesn’t, people stop trusting it, and the circuit breaks. Like any power outage, everything stops.

So … economic activity is based on the expenditure and flow of energy.

This is MUCH more so in the modern age … where machines are essential to the production and distribution of both goods and information.

Energy is a BIG deal.

This is something our very smart friend, Chris Martenson of Peak Prosperity, is continually reminding us of.

Here’s where all this comes together for real estate investing …

New dollars conjured out of thin air can dilute the value of all previously existing dollars.

It’s like having 100% real fruit juice flowing through a drink dispenser.

If someone pours in a bunch of water that didn’t go through the energy consuming biological process of becoming real fruit juice in a plant…

… the water is just a calorie free (i.e., no value) fluid which DILUTES the real fruit juice in the dispenser.

Monetary dilution is called inflation.

Legendary economist John Maynard Keynes describes it this way

“By a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.”

Inflation waters down real wealth.

Fortunately, real estate is arguably the BEST vehicle for Main Street investors to both hedge and profit from inflation.

That’s because leverage (the mortgage) let’s you magnify inflation’s effect so your cash-on-cash ROI and equity growth can outpace inflation.

Plus, with the right real estate leverage, there’s no margin call. Meanwhile, the rental income services the debt.

Even better, the income is relatively stable … rooted in the tenant’s wages and lease terms. Those aren’t day-traded, so they don’t fluctuate like paper asset prices.

Effectively, you harness the energy of the tenant’s labor to create resilient wealth for yourself. And you’re doing it in a fair exchange of value.

Of course, the rental income is only as viable as the tenant’s income.

This brings us back to energy …

Robert Kiyosaki and Ken McElroy taught us the value of investing in energy … and markets where energy is a major industry.

First, energy jobs are linked to where the energy is. You might move a factory to China, but not an oil field. This means local employment for your tenants.

Your tenants might not work directly in the energy business, but rather for those secondary and tertiary industries which support it. But the money comes from the production of energy.

Further, energy consumers are all over the world, making the flow of money into the local job market much more stable than less diverse regional businesses.

It’s the same reason we like agriculture.

While machines consume oil, people consume food. Both are sources of essential energy used to create products and provide services.

So when it comes to real estate, energy, and food … the basis of the investment is something real and essential with a permanent demand.

Though less sexy and speculative, we’re guessing the need for energy and food is more enduring than interactive exercise cycling.

Real estate, energy and agricultural products, are all real … no matter what currency you denominate them in.

And the closer you get to real value, the more resilient your wealth is if paper fails.

Right now, paper is showing signs of weakness. But like a dying star, sometimes there’s a bright burst just before implosion.

Remember, Venezuela’s stock market sky-rocketed just before the Bolivar collapsed.

Those who had real assets prospered. Those who didn’t … didn’t.

Are we saying stocks and the dollar are about to implode? Not at all. But they could. Perhaps slowly at first, and then suddenly.

If they do and you’re not prepared … it’s bad. It you’re prepared and they don’t … not so sad. If they do and you’re prepared … it could be GREAT.

Real assets, such as well-structured and located income property …

… or commodities like oil, gold, and agricultural products (and the real estate which produces them) …

… are all likely to fare better in an economic shock than paper derivatives whose primary function is as trading chip in the Wall Street casinos.

So consider what money is and isn’t … the role of energy in economic activity … and how you can build a resilient portfolio based on a foundation of real assets.

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”
John F. Kennedy

Until next time … good investing!


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The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.


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Agriculture Investing – An Opportunity to Diversify Globally

Everyone needs a place to live … and everyone needs to eat.

Food is the original wealth. The world’s population is growing … and there are more mouths to feed every day!

Investors don’t have to limit themselves to properties with assets like houses, commercial buildings, or shopping malls.

You can harvest dollars from land that doesn’t have anything to do with tenants … and has everything to do with crops.

Agriculture investing is one of the most enduring and common sense investments there is.

Learn firsthand how money CAN grow on trees from a well-seasoned expert in international agricultural investing.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, hear from:

  • Your food-for-thought host, Robert Helms
  • His food-loving co-host, Russell Gray
  • Expert agricultural investor, David Smith

Listen

 


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Broadcasting since 1997 with over 300 episodes on iTunes!

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Digging into agriculture investing

We live in a big world with lots of mouths to feed … that means lots of crops … and lots of ways to profit.

In the past, agriculture investing was a difficult business to get in to on a small scale. If you didn’t have huge capital to buy huge plots of land … you were hugely out of luck.

But in the last several years, we’ve seen lots of folks who have figured out a way to let mom and pop play alongside them.

When it comes to investing in agriculture real estate, the pizza theory comes into play … fitting since we’re focusing on food.

Someone buys a large pizza. They take it to a party, cut it into slices, and sell each slice for a little bit of a markup.

At the end of the day, the person who brought the pizza makes a little bit of profit for their effort … and everybody gets to have a slice of something they might not be able to afford on their own.  

In agriculture, somebody buys a large parcel of farmland and puts all the operations and distribution channels in place.

Then, they divvy up a slice of the deal for a small markup to give many small investors the chance to play in that space. We see this as a great opportunity.

Everyone needs to eat

Crops come in all sizes, shapes, and degrees of durability … not to mention that different regions of the world have different opportunities.

In real estate, we often talk about getting the market right. Buying an investment property in the wrong market can get you into trouble.

But with crops, it’s not exactly the same.

It doesn’t really matter where the hungry mouths are … and it doesn’t matter where the food is grown.

Wherever the best farmland is … that’s where you want to buy. With today’s shipping technologies, you can get the food wherever it needs to go.

Another perk of agricultural investment? It is a staple. It meets a basic human need … just like housing.

Everyone needs a place to live … and everyone needs to eat.

And the population … the number of consumers demanding food … is steadily GROWING.

Crops and cash flow in Paraguay

David Smith is an experienced investor. He started in real estate, and for the last several years, he has been involved in agriculture in Latin America.  

After many years living and working in real estate in Latin America, David knew he needed to diversify.

After some due diligence, David decided to invest in agriculture.

“I was so interested in the business model,” David says. “It was a passive, turnkey investment not subject to the whims of the market. I really liked the security of it.”

David landed in Paraguay … a big farming country a bit off the radar … and invested in oranges.

Why oranges?

David says one of the biggest things that struck him about this particular crop was its durability. It also has a great distribution area.

Paraguay imports about 85 percent of all the citrus products consumed in the country.

“We can’t even meet the demand in Paraguay, let alone try to export yet,” David says.

Today, David is expanding to new segments of citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and sweet limes … ingredients that are important in the local diet.

Paraguay is traditionally a row crop producer … foods like soybeans, wheat, corn, and chia. It imports citrus from Brazil and buys greenhouse vegetables from Argentina.

Looking for ways to provide foods locally that are traditionally imported can open up lucrative niche opportunities in agriculture.

By providing a local alternative to imported foods, David provides a cheaper option for local grocers while creating income for his investors.

Going bigger with greenhouses

Like any investment niche, creative solutions can pay off … literally.

In Paraguay, one of the biggest challenges to growing vegetable is the heat.

“Paraguay gets very hot … and when I say very hot, I’m talking Tucson hot. It can be 120, 130, even 140 degrees in many locations,” David says.

The vegetables grown locally under normal farming conditions don’t grow very well. Their growth is stunted, their colors aren’t as bright, and they don’t taste as good as imported vegetables.

That’s where GREENHOUSES come into play.

By growing high-use … and typically high-priced … vegetables in greenhouses, David and his team can provide a local, tasty, and affordable solution to consumers.

This also provides a unique opportunity for investors. Instead of investing in land, individuals can purchase a greenhouse.

Each greenhouse is approximately 26,000 square feet … that’s a good amount of space for growing some green.

Greenhouses are also a popular investment because of their quick returns. Most investors will receive a return after just one year of making their investment.

“It’s a very stable business that runs 24/7,” David says.

And it’s a business that you don’t have to worry about managing. David and his team employ expert staff members that specialize in growing each crop.

These employees are even more motivated to provide extra levels of care, because they share in the profits.

“We offer them bonuses based upon produce amount, not net profit. In turn, they really put a loving touch into their work,” David says.

Determine if agriculture investment is right for you

Most Americans haven’t invested overseas.

There are a lot of reasons for this … but one of the biggest is not understanding how things operate on the ground in a different country.

That’s why having a local team managing the day-to-day of your investment is so powerful … especially in a niche like agriculture.

Just like any other investment opportunity, it’s important to do your due diligence.

David and his team help investors get a feel for agriculture by providing informative tours of their operation in Paraguay … and he also prepared a new, informative special report Citrus Fruits in Paraguay Investments that Grow Naturally.

Whether or not this particular opportunity is right for you, expanding your thinking to a bigger picture of real estate than just houses and hotels is important … and can yield lucrative results!


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The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.


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Podcast: Agriculture Investing – An Opportunity to Diversify Globally

Food is the original wealth and it’s still pretty important today. And as world population grows, no matter where it happens, there are more mouths to feed.

So the demand for food … and the farm and ranch land to produce it anywhere on earth … is arguably one of the most enduring and common sense investments there is.

Tune in as we talk international agricultural investing with a well-seasoned expert!


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.


Love the show?  Tell the world!  When you promote the show, you help us attract more great guests for your listening pleasure!