Farmland: The Investing Opportunity of a Decade?

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Hedge fund millionaire Stephen Diggle is placing his bets on farmland and opening his personal farmland portfolio to outside investors.

After earning $2.7 billion during the 2007-08 financial crisis, Diggle is looking for the next big investment. "The one thing I didn't want to do was spend the rest of my life talking about how great 2008 was," he told Bloomberg.

A globally growing middle class and medium- to long-term forecasts for higher food prices have inspired Diggle to invest in farmland. Diggle has purchased farmland in the U.S., Uruguay, and New Zealand and plans to expand into Africa and Eastern Europe.

He may be onto something. The value of farmland in the U.S. has gained 20%-30% in the past two years alone, says Bloomberg. Diggle says his investments in Uruguay may have risen 50% as sheep and cattle prices almost doubled in Latin America this year.

Investing ideas
Diggle calls farmland the "single most interest opportunity over the next 10 to 20 years." Do you think he's onto a good idea? Looking for ways to give your own portfolio an exposure to the rising demand for food and farmland? The following list of farm product companies might offer a good starting point.

Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

1. Archer Daniels Midland (NYS: ADM) : Archer Daniels Midland procures, transports, stores, processes, and merchandises agricultural commodities and products in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $19.4B.

2. Bunge Limited (NYS: BG) : Engages in the agriculture and food businesses worldwide. Market cap of $8.4B.

3. Fresh Del Monte Produce (NYS: FDP) : Produces, transports, sources, markets, and distributes fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables worldwide. Market cap of $1.46B.

4. Adecoagro S.A. (NAS: AGRO) : Operates as an agricultural company in South America. Market cap of $965.36M.

5. The Andersons (NAS: ANDE) : Engages in the agriculture and transportation businesses in the United States. Market cap of $841.57M.

6. Teavana Holdings, Common S (NYS: TEA) : Operates as a specialty retailer of loose-leaf teas, teawares, and other tea-related merchandise. Market cap of $668.64M.

7. Cresud (NAS: CRESY) : Engages in the production of basic agricultural commodities in Brazil and other Latin American countries. Market cap of $579.35M.

8. Calavo Growers (NAS: CVGW) : Calavo Growers procures and markets avocados and other perishable commodities, and prepares and distributes processed avocado products in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $385.35M.

9. Chiquita Brands International (NYS: CQB) : Engages in the distribution and marketing of bananas and fresh produce under the Chiquita and other brand names worldwide. Market cap of $380.35M.

10. Limoneira Co. (NAS: LMNR) : Engages in agriculture and real estate development businesses in the United States. Market cap of $186.65M.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research. List compiled by Eben Esterhuizen, CFA.

Kapitall's Eben Esterhuizen and Rebecca Lipman do not own any of the shares mentioned above. Data sourced from Finviz.

At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Chiquita Brands International. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Fresh Del Monte Produce. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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