Sustainable forestry manager New Forests is branching out into farming with the launch of New Agriculture, a new business division focussed on acquiring global agriculture assets.

Lawson Grains was acquired by New Forests in January for $600 million, with funding from Canadian investor AIMCo, and it will be the seed asset for New Agriculture.

The impact approach will focus on managing assets under sustainable agriculture production processes, while also contributing to nature-based solutions, shared prosperity and the circular bioeconomy.

A new team of agriculture specialists has been brought together: Bruce King will be Director of Agriculture, Ben Mason will be Portfolio Manager; Ben Pickles will be Manager, Operations, alongside existing team member Jamie Lord as Manager, Investments. 

“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. We believe that improving agricultural land management and optimising landscapes for multiple uses, will help the global economy transition to a sustainable future.” says Mark Rogers, Senior Managing Director of New Forests. 

New Forests will receive a major injection of capital when two Japanese investment heavyweights, Mitsui and Nomura, take 90 per cent ownership of the firm later this year. 

The Sydney-based investment manager was founded in 2005 by David Brand, since then it’s led pioneering work in nature-based real assets and natural capital strategies. From sustainable forestry to carbon and conservation finance projects, as well as infrastructure, the team now manages almost 1 million hectares of land.

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