Image via the Almond Board of California.

published on May 26, 2022 - 9:27 AM
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A Madera man backed by a group of investors has purchased nearly 1,200 acres of almonds in west Fresno County with a plan to go organic.

Bikram Singh, CEO of Madera-based Nia Ag Solutions, bought the eight parcels near Cantua Creek and one parcel straddling the San Luis Mendota Canal for $15 million. The purchase is part of a larger strategy to acquire producing acreage and transition it to organic — a years-long process.

Singh currently manages more than 10,000 acres and in the last three years has acquired more than 2,200 acres of Fresno County almonds with his investors.

Gaining organic certification is not an easy process, said Singh in an email. The crops need to be free of fertilizers and chemicals for three years before they can receive certification under U.S. Department of Agriculture standards.

Singh said producing organic crops has been his mission since he began farming.

“When I started farming over 15 years ago, it really bothered me to see how we were polluting Mother Earth with excessive use of herbicides,” Singh said.

Singh said the organic market has evolved drastically in the last 15 years. Organic almonds sell for almost double what non-organic almonds sell for. At the same time, Singh said growth in the organic market has been inconsistent, which he attributes to high demand and low supply. He is currently in open negotiations with major national retailers to become a vendor for organic almonds, he said.

The investment group behind Singh is made up of doctors, financial advisors, entrepreneurs and more, located from Los Angeles to San Jose.

With offices in Los Angeles and Fresno that opened last year, PACT Capital was the direct lender in the deal. Managing Partner Adam Mortanian said his office has been working with Singh and his group for about four months.

Nitti Kaur of Abundance360 Inc. provided real estate advisory services for the acquisitions.

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