The Rodale Institute recently invested $2 million with the Iroquois Valley Farmland Real Estate Investment Trust, a farmland-finance company. The trust works with investors to provide organic and regenerative farmers land security through long-term leases and mortgages.
Rodale's board of directors approved the decision to invest a portion of the organization’s endowment fund and general operating budget with Iroquois Valley to increase land access for organic farmers across the country.
Despite the organic market reaching $55 billion in the United States in 2019, just 1 percent of U.S. farmland is certified organic. Programs such as Rodale Institute’s Organic Crop Consulting Service, which provides trained agronomist-mentors to transitioning farms, are working to bridge the gap. But land access and capital remain barriers for potential organic farmers.
Iroquois Valley seeks to reduce barriers by purchasing farmland and entering into a lease agreement or underwriting a mortgage for organic farmers looking to start or expand their operation. Rodale’s investment enables Iroquois Valley to purchase more land and offer those resources to farmers nationwide.
Iroquois Valley also offers lines of credit for organic farmers who need to jumpstart their operation. Its portfolio currently includes more than 60 farms on more than 13,000 acres in 15 states. Visit RodaleInstitute.org and iroquoisvalley.com for more information.