Written by Donald A. Promnitz
A Valley tech company has much to celebrate as it announced the successful funding of its first agricultural business.
Last month, the Hanford-based financial tech company FarmFundr was able to pull off a crowdfund of $700,000 for a 20-acre almond orchard in Lemoore. FarmFundr bills itself as the only financial technology company of its kind in the Central Valley and the only farmer-owned crowdfunding site for farmland.
“Our main goal has always been to keep the family farm in business and offer great farmland opportunities to our investors,” said Hilary Mathias, chief operating officer at Farmfundr. “If we can raise $100 million and place it into high-quality farmland with a great return for our investors, all while helping the farmer, I think we are doing a good for everyone, including planet earth.”
The hope for the project is to see a target internal rate of return of 13.3% over a period of seven to ten years. At the end of this period, the orchard will be sold in hopes of realizing appreciation on the land.
FarmFundr specifically targets high profit potential farm operations within the United States.
CEO Brandon Silveira, a fourth-generation farmer, says that raising capital was one of the most difficult parts of the agricultural experience, and hopes his company will help others overcome that roadblock with a new asset class.
“Farm loans are hard to get and they’re very expensive,” Silveira said. “And it takes a lot of personal guarantees and different things like that, that it’s a lot of risk for a farmer to expand their farm or purchase new pieces of property.”
Silveira added that their next project is a 42-acre pistachio yield in Kings County.