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New virtual meetup focuses on passive investing for ag

Agriculture could see trend toward investing off-the-farm to create new income streams.

Mike Downey

January 24, 2023

3 Min Read
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I’d like to announce a new virtual meetup group I will be hosting, called Passive Investing for the Ag Community.

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This group is open to anyone with a like-minded interest in networking and learning about alternative investment options other than the traditional stock market, or like me, you might be trying to figure out how to position yourself to buy high-priced farmland one day?!

There is no cost to join this group, but you will need to download the free “Meetup” App which is the platform we will be using to host this meetup. The download link can be found, here.

This will be a monthly meeting, virtually, using Zoom. The goal? This will be an educational platform for all of us to learn, network, and become aware of a variety of topics some of us may not be aware of otherwise.

You might be wondering why I’m organizing a meetup to discuss the idea of investing outside of agriculture. This comes just as a group of 20 to 25 professional athletes bought an Iowa farm together who want to invest into Agriculture. However, the ability for many of us in the ag community to buy land in the current land environment is limited by our cash reserves or the ability to subsidize the purchase from off-the-farm income sources.

This dilemma was reiterated last week at the Farm Futures Business Summit in Iowa City. This is always an excellent conference that offers many key takeaways. One of these for me was from Dr. David Kohl who said, “Future farmers will have a side-gig, and their net worth will be limited by the size of their network.”

I was asked to present on the topic: Pros & Cons of Passive Income: Should farmers invest off-the-farm?

I was skeptical how my presentation may be received, and shared the estimate: “82% of U.S. ag household income is estimated to come from off-the-farm,” from USDA. I also shared some of the benefits passive income from alternative investments has afforded me and my small family farm.

I’m surprised how much this resonated with many of the audience members. The concerns expressed during the question-and-answer session as well as subsequent one-on-one conversations ranged from:

  • The difficult barrier of entry for buying farmland

  • How to expand in a highly competitive cash rent marketplace

  • Where will the income come from to bring the next generation in

  • Thinner margins from much higher input costs

  • The stock market logging its worst losses since 2008

  • How else can we invest our retirement funds

  • How to better manage my income taxes during retirement

  • What other options are there to diversify my portfolio?

Jolene Brown, another headline speaker, alluded to the fact the next generation may have to operate and farm differently than the generations before us. The next generation needs to work together, collaborate, participate in peer groups, and think outside the box.

If any of these resonate with you, please join our group using the link above, or email me at [email protected] and I’ll be sure to include you as we work to plan our very first meetup, most likely to be held in February or early March.

Downey has been helping farmers and landowners for the last 22 years with their family farm transition, estate planning, leasing strategies, finances, and general land consultation. He is the co-owner of Next Gen Ag Advocates and an associate of Farm Financial Strategies. Reach Mike at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Mike Downey

Co-Owner, Next Gen Ag Advocates

Mike Downey is co-owner of Iowa-based Next Gen Ag Advocates. His passion for helping farmers and landowners stems from his own farm roots, growing up on his family’s grain and livestock farm near Roseville, Ill. He and his wife are also the founders of Farm Raised Capital, an investment community for farmers and ag professionals with common interests to grow and diversify their farm wealth with alternative real estate investments. Reach Mike at [email protected]

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