New Agriculture has been established to build a global portfolio of agricultural assets starting in Australia and New Zealand. The business division will manage the Lawson Grains' 100,000-hectare aggregation, which was acquired by New Forests and Alberta Investment Management Company (AIMCo) in January 2022.
The team is set to comprise Bruce King as director of agriculture, Ben Mason as portfolio manager, Ben Pickles as manager of operations and Jamie Lord as manager of investments. Mr King will report to Mark Rogers, senior managing director, Australia, New Zealand and the United States for New Forests.
Commenting on how New Agriculture will blend into New Forests’ vision for the future, Mr Rogers said: “New Agriculture builds upon New Forests’ 17-year track record managing forestry and other landscapes for sustainable production.”
“Like forestry, agriculture is a real asset which provides investors with a strong cash yield, a natural inflation hedge and is uncorrelated to other asset classes.”
“By combining our experience in forestry with agriculture, we can seek to optimise the value of the land between sustainable food and fibre production, carbon sequestration, conservation, and community benefits.”
The team will be headed by Mr King who has 20 years of experience in the investment sector and most recently occupied the role of chief executive officer of Regional Investment Corporation Australia, responsible for overseeing $3 billion in financing for a range of investments in the sector.
“I'm delighted to lead a strong, experienced team, and look forward to building the New Agriculture business,” Mr King said on his appointment.
“Australia and New Zealand’s agriculture industries are significant contributors to GDP, employ thousands of people, and are a vital part of our food supply, making the sustainable management of these landscapes more important than ever,” he added.
But the team boasts other experienced professionals, including Mr Mason who has extensive experience working in private and public sectors, having most recently spent four years at Roc Partners as vice president of agriculture. Moreover, Mr Pickles was most recently finance business partner, operations and investments, with food company Kilcoy Global Foods, while Mr Lord joined New Forests in 2013 and has been managing the operations and growth of New Forests’ existing portfolio of agricultural assets.
New Forests is a global investment manager of nature-based real assets and natural capital strategies, with $8.7 billion in assets under management across 1.1 million hectares of investments.