You may have heard about Scott Walker’s recent move to make it easier for foreign companies to purchase large tracts of land in Wisconsin. Today I ran into an article by Mike Ivey that has more on what may be behind the change:
“A 7-year-old private real estate investment trust (REIT), the AgriVest fund has been buying huge chunks of farmland in the Mississippi Delta, the Rocky Mountain states, Georgia and now Wisconsin. The fund’s 27 investors are mostly pension funds ranging from the Orange County Employees Retirement System in California to the Anchorage Police & Fire Retirement System..
Given the interest among big pension plans in investing in farmland, the Farmland Investor Center is now speculating that money manager TIAA-CREF is behind Walker’s shadowy land ownership proposal.”
Farmland Investor Center has more on the TIAA-CREF theory over at Is Money Manager TIAA-CREF Behind A Proposal to Repeal Wisconsin Limits on Land Ownership by Foreigners?
The Wisconsin Farmers Union is against the change, as reported by the Fond du Lac Reporter:
““Under this proposal, any foreign individual, corporation or government can come in and buy up as much land as they want. This will drive up land prices so high that Wisconsinites won’t be able to buy the neighbor’s farm that comes up for sale or the neighboring 40 acres at a decent price that they can afford.” – WFU President Darin Von Ruden
Here’s the Wisconsin Farmers Union web site.
A video of Von Ruden from fdlreporter.com.