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Bonus Episode #1 : Farmland investing with Carter Malloy

Carter Malloy is the Founder and CEO of AcreTrader. Carter grew up in a farming family and has a lifelong passion for investing and agriculture. Prior to AcreTrader, he was part of a successful equity investment firm for 5 years. Before joining in 2013, Carter was a Managing Director with Stephens Inc., a large private investment bank, where he was an equity research analyst focused on the Internet, Data & Analytics and Real Estate Processing

sectors. Prior to Stephens, he owned small businesses focused on internet marketing and sustainable fuel technologies. 

In this episode, Millionacres Editor, Deidre Woollard, interviews Carter Malloy, CEO and found of AcreTrader. They discuss the benefits of farmland investing and how AcreTrader evaluates this unique asset class.

Transcript

Carter Malloy: For us, it's cheesy but we set out to improve liquidity and transparency in this great asset class, and that's what we're after. It's happening and it's happening very quickly and it's a lot of fun for the large and growing group of us working here together in AcreTrader. I'll put to that and say that's what I'm most excited about is that improved transparency. It is better in liquidity, it's better for the farmers, better for the sellers, better for investors, and so that's certainly what we are pursuing doggedly as a company and what we are most excited about. [MUSIC]

Deidre Woollard: You are listening to The Millionacres Podcast. Our mission at Millionacres is to educate and empower investors to make great decisions and achieve real estate investing success. We provide regular content and prospective for everyone from those just starting out, to seasoned pros with decades of experience. At Millionacres we work every day to help you demystify real estate investing and build real well.

Hello, I'm Deidre Woollard an Editor at Millionacres, and thank you so much for tuning into The Millionacres Podcast. Today we are diving into farmland investing and this is a topic I find especially fascinating because since COVID-19 I think we're all a little more focused on food supply, where our food come from, we're all more aware of it right now. My guest today is Carter Malloy, Founder and CEO of AcreTrader, the farmland investing platform. Before AcreTrader, he was a partner at a billion-dollar investment fund for five years and was previously a Managing Director with Stephens Inc. a large private investment bank. Before joining Stephens he owned small businesses focused on Internet marketing and sustainable fuel technologies and completed an undergrad in physics at the University of Arkansas. Welcome, Carter.

Carter Malloy: Thanks for having me.

Deidre Woollard: I'm really glad that you're doing this with me. I've talked to you before and I'm just really excited about farmland investing right now because I see that more people are aware of it, but also I know that it's a really stable investment over time. So let's start there, why is farmland so stable?

Carter Malloy: It's a great question, Deidre. There's a long answer and a short answer but to be brief, it's really about supply and demand. It's one of the really fascinating underlying economic conditions of farmland is that we only have so much farmland in the United States and the world for that matter. If we look at the US, it is one of those assets where it is finite and we mean there's only physically so much land and we're losing it. We're losing about three acres per minute according to the American Farmland Trust. So there's your supply, that's the asset we're investing in and it is shrinking. On the other side of that is more people are eating. We have more people born every day and the global population is growing and we're eating more protein and we're eating more farming intensive foods. So reducing supply, increasing demand over time, has led to pretty steady price increases. Whether you're looking over a 30 or 50-year type of time frame for the land itself that's led to a we call it a mid-single digit five, six percent, maybe a little greater appreciation every year. That's your core fundamental driver of value is appreciation, but then you have to remember, when you own the land, it is productive as well. So either you're growing fruits and vegetables and earning an income from that or more often the farmer is paying you a simple rent. So in our case an example would be if the farmer is paying you call it three, four, five percent cash dividend or distribution and then you're making five or six percent appreciation a year, that equates to 10 percent annual return, which is roughly where farmland has been historically, it's been actually more like 11 or 12 percent for the last 30 years. That is a pretty phenomenal return profile period, and then there is a but, which is that is exclusive of leverage. When we talk about returns in the S&P or in real estate as an example commercial or residential, we're amplifying those returns by using debt. We're measuring that farmland return and quite often earn the returns without using any debt. When you talk about stability, that certainly helps. When you're not amplifying your returns up, you're also not amplifying them down. So as a result, not only has farmland produced pretty impressive historical investment returns of 11 or 12 percent over the last 30 years but has done so with far less volatility or swings in the value of price swings relative to other asset classes out there.

Deidre Woollard: With commercial real estate, you're generally investing in something that you're either going to build from the ground up or you're going to value-add or something like that and you're going to boost the rental base or something like that. How does that work with farmland and how is it different from commercial real estate?

Carter Malloy: I think the easiest way to say it is it's easier. When you build a building, the building immediately starts to attempt to break down on you and that's just physical forces. Over time you will be out whether a tenant moves out and scratches the place up or there is broken toilets you've got to fix or plumbing in the middle of the night. We're investing in soil. So it's just a far simpler asset class. When we really boil it down round out to commercial and residential real estate, and beyond that, again, because we're not putting that much of capital expenditures into it, we don't have a building sitting on top loosing value over time, which they do over long periods of time, anyway. I think that's an exciting component of investing in farmland is the relative simplicity of it. Our tenants for that matter rather than renting an office building today, we all see what's happening in the office real estates base, it's pretty difficult time, the same is true in retail. Our tenants are our farmers, and those farmers tend to pay their rent once a year in advance, and the turnover tends to be fairly low, the vacancy rates and default rates tend to be exceptionally low in the industry, that's unheard of in other industries. So again, this boring aspect of this owning dirt which just sounds incredibly boring is to us perhaps the most exciting thing about farmland is the relative simplicity of it as an asset and, again, those underlying economic drivers that help us to make real industrial returns over time.

Deidre Woollard: I don't think it's boring at all, I think about it in terms of the farmers' market and things like that, it's a chance to get that one step closer to the Earth. I think that's part of why people are more interested in investing in farmland, is that what you're seeing? Are people drawn to it for the investing and the returns, or are they drawn to it for something deeper, maybe a desire to invest sustainably or something like that?

Carter Malloy: It's a great question and it's not a cop out, but all the above. We have some hardcore financial engineering types that invest on our platform based solely on the numbers and in-depth due diligence and underwriting. We as a company we're technologists and we're financial analysts, so we love that, but we are farmers first here. Most of us at AcreTrader have backgrounds in farming, we have farming families, etc. So we tend to also understand and appreciate that intangible component of we grow food, we grow cotton for clothes, we grow nuts to put on snack mixes, and we grow fuel. So it's a really fun industry we'd involved in, and we certainly have investors focused on sustainability with investors that only invest in the organic deals we have on our platform. We still are very particular about the return profiles on the land we invest in. I think a lot of people just want to be closer to their food when it comes down to your point. Beyond that, it's not just us that are investing in farmland, that the smart money got here or has been coming in pretty quickly. About a decade ago it was something like $3 billion of private equity investments in US farmland, today that number is something like 30 billion, so 10 acres over a decade, give or take. So the smart money is moving there fast and I think we're actually, as a platform, as AcreTrader, we're seeing incredible demand growth in our company as well as you're exactly right. People, they want to diversify their portfolio's, they want to get away from the stock market, they still like to make good returns and this is a fascinating hard asset I think everyone can understand and enjoy being a part of.

Deidre Woollard: Well, you mentioned nuts and that brings up one of my questions which is the difference between row crops and permanent crops. I think that's one of the things that is a little tricky for people to understand about farmland investing is that there is a difference between growing almonds versus growing something that you pull up every year like carrots.

Carter Malloy: There is, and it's a great question. We have some great literature on our site to discuss this as well. But very quickly, to describe the difference if I can, we think, in general terms, of row crops as being the more stable and simpler of the two. Doesn't mean better, it's just a different approach, and that is because the farmer is paying us this fixed rent. We are not in the world of row crops, generally, we are not stepping in and taking operational risk, so we are not impacted as investors by things like the weather or by growing conditions or by how harvest was or commodity prices.

Carter Malloy: It's a very simple approach and overtime has produced some great returns for those investors. Permanent crops have a little bit of a different look and feel to them. Unlike row crops, which we request the farmer replants every year, permanent crops may last in the case of Almond trees 20-years. Winery is less of 100-years, but you're still looking at decades of timeline for those assets. As a result, the investor or the landowner tends to own the trees as well. We'll use that almond example. If you own the trees and you own the land, then usually you are exposed. You're selling the crop at the end of the day. There is less situations where farmer pays you fixed rent and moreover you get either a percentage of revenue that comes off the farm or the actual profits that come off the farm. As an investor in permanent crops like apples, oranges, kiwis, avocados, and nuts, there's typically more volatility in the income. They are bigger swings in your income. You can achieve marginally better returns. I call it marginally higher risk and marginally better returns, it's the way we boil it down. To me, personally, both permanent and row crops are interesting way to diversify our portfolio. I think that's a big benefit of our platform, what we're after is allowing investors to own some of all of the above.

Deidre Woollard: You talked a little bit about almonds and that makes me think about California and what's been happening this year and the last couple of years with wildfires. Obviously this year has been particularly hard on Napa and what's been going on there. So I'm wondering how AcreTrader thinks about things like that and other issues, wildfires, but also water and the increased need for water in places where it's getting dryer.

Carter Malloy: The wildfire issue because of the recent effect of it, as well because it's a very violent situation when you weigh this and that happens in a place like Napa and we all think of how dire the consequences are. But on an absolute basis when we look at the entire state and where crops are grown in California. In general statement, wildfires are a threat. The ways that we have invested and we haven't seen any impact from them as a platform. We tend to be in farming areas. We're pretty far away from the hot zones of those wildfires. The way bigger concern in our minds is water. From a dollar perspective there is some really attractive deals in California. Looking at the pure financial returns of those investments. The problem is they may only be great for five or 10 or 20 years and then there is no water anymore. Or probably more likely if the water doubles or quadrupled or more in price and really, really negatively impacts the return profile of those investments. So we are hyper cautious around water in California. Current potential access in the future and then politics, there are some water districts that have this kind of binary unknown political risks involved with them. Where again, there's very attractive investments available but we tend to not go there because of the longer-term political risk and implications that it can have for investing there.

Deidre Woollard: Is that happening across other states as well? Are there other states where you feel like water is a major concern?

Carter Malloy: Yes. Absolutely, Colorado has a smaller on a relative basis, farming area able ground, but there are some very real water access issues beginning to sprout in Colorado. Then there's an aquifer underneath the large swath in the middle of a country called Ogallala aquifer, so you look at the pin handle on Texas and you drive a line short North up into the Dakotas. There are some major water access issues popping up there. So again, is the 100 of Iridium line in that general area. So compounding on top of that is the rain line is moving in terms of precipitation in those areas. Again, we haven't done any investing today in a lot of those general areas. There are still some very attractive places that are sustainable for a 100 years or in the foreseeable future in terms of generations. So we'll look there, but as a platform I can't imagine being excited about somewhere where you may be out of business in 10 years. There are a lot of those out there.

Deidre Woollard: Interesting is that impacting some of the smaller farmers, is that leading to more consolidation as maybe some of the smaller farmers try to get out ahead of that and then sell their farms, is that part of why big agriculture seems to be growing?

Carter Malloy: I think there is a couple of components to unpack there. First, it's absolutely impactful to the farmers their owners and there are farmers on that land and we hate it. You never want to see anyone especially the American farmer struggling because of local or national issues, weather-related issues. We do see speculators playing in those areas as well, and driving prices up and down very quickly and it just feels a little dangerous to us as investors. The notion of consolidation "Big ag" is a concern as well. Think about companies that produce actual grain products and they are big ag and they may own large swaths of land to grow inputs for their products. Beyond that there are then some mega farmers we'll call them. But they are not as prevalent and as the news make's you not to be the extreme majority of farmers in the US are still small farmers. They have to think like a CEO though. If you want to be a critical farmer and run your own ground or at least ground for the people it's not a simple thing. It's a wildly complex organizational task and execution task just to do the farming. But apparently you're also running a business and whether that's a couple of 100 acres or 10,000 acres. That notion of a CEO Farmer becoming really, really important in the world of compressing margins as we look across any industry and margins do compress over time that is happening to farmers as well and they have to fight back and scale up and implement technology to continue to improve. Luckily, we are seeing a lot of that lately. We as a company work with a lot of really great farmers that we're proud to call our partners.

Deidre Woollard: I love that and I loved that idea of the CEO of Farmer because I think that in this culture so much we focus on tech entrepreneurs and we get caught up in the future but we also forget that a farmer is primarily an entrepreneur.

Carter Malloy: Very well said.

Deidre Woollard: That's a great place to take a quick break. [MUSIC] We hope you're enjoying this and every episode of The Million acres podcast. If you have a memo we'd love to hear from you. Please visit millionacrespodcasts.full.com and tell us what you think of the podcast so far, what kind of content and guests you'd like to hear, and what else we can do to help you grow smarter, happier and richer, through real estate, thank you. We are here with Carter Malloy, CEO and founder of AcreTrader. We're talking about investing in farmland. So Carter, one of the things that I really liked in your bio, is that you've really got that mix of you're farmer, but you're also an investor and someone who understands data and things like that. So I want to have you talk a little bit about your journey in founding the company and also how you find the farmers that you work with in AcreTrader.

Carter Malloy: Absolutely. So I'll quickly get through my journey and talk about the fun thing, the people that we work with and the farmers we work with. My personal journey I grew up in a farming family here in Arkansas where I live currently and then where our company is based, studied science in school and did a dozen years or so professional investing worked as you mentioned earlier worked at a fund in an investment bank. In the background. My dad and I had been buying and selling farmland. I became really interested in it pretty early on in my career as an asset. I was just fascinated with the returns we were able to generate in this world. In a volatile world, I should say, in a crazy investor world that we've all endured here especially the last decade. I was living in San Francisco for a number of years investing professionally and again, doing the farmland thing on the side. I had a neighbor, who came to me and said, "Hey, I want to invest in farmland with you." I pulled out my computer said, "Cool, lets go find something online." It was this moment of, "Oh my gosh, there's nothing here." Here is this Multi-trillion dollar assets class putting up incredible performance for people investing in it and there's no way for you and me, and regular people to get access to it by having going out and popping down very large six or seven figure lumps of money, probably in a place we've never been to with a broker we never met. I figured there was probably a better way to do that and that was the beginning of what lead to the incredible team and company that we have today with AcreTrader and farmers.

Deidre Woollard: Yes.

Carter Malloy: How do we find farmers we work with? At this point, a lot of it is referrals. We've had a lot of really great experiences working with farmers and helping them grow their operations, and they tell their friends about us. We also do market to farmers. We work with managers across the country with a litany of different people throughout the farmland value chain, if you will. But today, a really important source of deals for us without a doubt is farmers. They rightfully see us as a capital partner. We love finding those farmers that are wanting to grow their business, and wanting to expand, and hungry, and like we were discussing earlier, adaptive of new technologies, and running a great business, and they say, "Hey, I'd like to pick up some more acres to farm, and I think this land may come up for sale, or I may be able to find a favorable investment on this piece of land if you'll let me rent it from you." We see it as a big win-win for that farmer and for us. We're acquiring land at attractive prices, and we have great farmers to operate it.

Deidre Woollard: What is the due diligence process look like? Is there something you are looking to see in the farmers? Is it a business plan? Is it something like that? How do you evaluate who you think is going to be successful?

Carter Malloy: We do. We have to evaluate both the farmer and the farm. At the end of the day, our investment dollars are going into the farm itself. We do tenant evaluations, and area tenant, tool evaluations, etc., with the individuals we're working with. But extremely importantly is that we're acquiring the land appropriately. We've got a team here that's managed hundreds of millions of dollars of farmland. We've got a accredited farm manager in our team, accredited rural appraiser on our team. Some of our team came from private equity, some of our team came from running large farms. They get it in a way that I don't. But we have a dedicated team here that find farms for sale. They're out everyday all day, looking at farms, speaking to farmers, speaking to farm owners which are often not the same person, and really looking for those diamond in the rock investment opportunities. We tend to invest in probably one in a 100 farms that we look at. That seems like a pretty crazy number. It may be much lower than one in terms of percentages. We do enhance that process also with the use of proprietary data and software, and analytics, and for us it's a numbers game. You've just got to look at a lot to really find the ones that you love.

Deidre Woollard: Your investors right now are primarily accredited investors? Are they mostly individuals and what size share are they taking? Are they invested in multiple farms, or just doing a single investment usually?

Carter Malloy: It's a good amount of both. We have a full gamut from individual investors, out to institutional investors and family office type of investors that participate on the platform. We love seeing people building diversified portfolios. Rather than investing $100,000 or a million dollars in one farm, spreading that out across a bunch of farms on the platform, and we see that activity all the time on the platform as well. So it's a mix of all of the above.

Deidre Woollard: Excellent. Thank you. I know any real estate investor, they always ask about tax benefits. Are there any tax benefits for investing in farmland that people should know about?

Carter Malloy: Perhaps the largest one is the government incentive program that exists for the farmer. Now, does that benefit directly us as investors of the farmland? Directly no. We're not collecting government payments, or insurance subsidies, or disaster assistance to more clarify those payment types. The farmer does have those components and systems within his business to help out in years. As an example, the last few years we entered a trade war. Those negatively affected commodity prices. As a result, the government stepped in and helped the American farmer. So that helps us and that it helps to stabilize our tenants, and our partners out there. Direct tax benefits, usually, no. There's not a lot. It's a pretty standard investment usually recognized as ordinary encounter than a capital gain on sale. The IRS would use it as a pretty standard real estate investment. There are some potential tax benefits I should say, and because I'm not a tax advisor here, when we are making investments, and we do that often where we'll buy a farm and then investment money into improving that farm, whether that's more efficient and better, or larger irrigation. We're building with a partner in Washington right now like two million gallon reservoir for water, and then planting trees. Those types of improvements and investments can have some positive tax implications.

Deidre Woollard: I know a lot of people wonder about opportunity zones that probably isn't a factor as much for farmland investing. I know recently there was some talk of hemp opportunity zones. Have you heard about those, and is that something that might be a potential area of investing?

Carter Malloy: I'll discuss, OZs and then hemp. For opportunity zones, we've seen a lot of this in commercial real estate, and spent a good amount of my career working commercial real estate. I see a lot of good money chasing after that, just for a tax benefit. If you find yourself investing in a deal solely because of the tax benefit, maybe you should rethink it. Because in reality, some of those opportunity zone deals are not good ones. Some of it are great. I don't mean to cast a wide net like that, but we want to be careful. We don't want to invest in a farm just because it's an opportunity zone. If it's there, that's a great extra benefit. But what we don't want to do is go under a marginal investment because of the tax advantages. For hemp, we have stayed away from it as a platform. I'd say, we stayed very clear of it. For one simple reason, it's not that's a bad investment or a good one, it's that it's speculative to us. Relative to what we look at, we are a conservative group by nature when we think about investing. We want risk-adjusted returns. We want to create sharpe ratio, the technical term for it. What hemp is, there's a lot of cowboys out there. Some of them are going to make a killing, and a lot of people are going to lose all their money. Those types of games can be really dangerous. Again, not knocking it. We know lots of hemp farmers. We know lots of people in that business, and I think that there's some really interesting and great opportunities. It is not one that we have pursued because we're not expert enough in forecasting what that commodity price will do, and in understanding the economics of those businesses.

Deidre Woollard: Thank you. In terms of what the farmers grow, is there any change in that do chase trends? Obviously avocados have been huge over the years, and there's currently an avocado IPO going on with Mission Produce. Are you following trends of what people are eating, and adjusting things that way, or are you mostly focused on staples?

Carter Malloy: We are nerds, we follow trends. We've got more charts and graphs and databases than we ever talked about. We've got a few data scientists that are solely focused on collecting information. Absolutely. We love trend watching, and macro understandings, and forecasting, and microanalysis as well. You're exactly right. In the world staples, so row crops. As an example, corn and soybeans, you can switch those things up pretty easily and we see farmers do that. One, for soil fertility reasons, and productivity reasons, and two, is for pricing reasons. That is an advantage where we're discussing row crops, is that you can change your mind every year, and grow something different. If the trend turns against you, you can flip it out. In the Delta, we grow a lot of rice. In a bad year, we can switch back to corn. On the west coast and places in the southwest and southeast, when you're dealing with permanent crops, you do have to take a bet. You've got to make a commitment to a particular permanent crop like we said earlier, decades. Avocados look great today. Presumably, what we'll eat for the next 20-years, is a massive amount of analysis. At the end of the day, it's an educated guess. That's what all investments are. You're just trying to get educated as you can to make that investment. I have more opinions that I could ever share with you on various crop types, and their medium and long-term outlooks.

Deidre Woollard: Well, I think it's interesting because I think that's what the things that I love about real estate. What I really love is human behavior. Thinking about farms, you think about something like almond milk got really trendy over the past few years. But now you've got oat milk. Oat milk has suddenly become very popular, and all of that has an impact on farming obviously.

Carter Malloy: Without a doubt. Consumer behaviors, they can change quickly, and what we call fad farming. We really try not to chase it, and I would include a previous crop type we discussed as something in fad farming. There's fad farming, or going after fads, I should say, and then there are long-term secular changes as well. Orange juice consumption is one of those. So growing citrus for oranges juice, there are great pockets still there. But the long term, the trends are [inaudible 00:31:41] , and we see a lot of orange growths in Florida being pulled out to put row crops back in.

Deidre Woollard: Interesting. So with oranges, one of the things I've noticed is there was a rise in those small peel and eat oranges like mandarin and things like that versus something like orange juice, it seemed like as being better for children, things like that.

Carter Malloy: You got it. My kids, they love Cuties, but they don't drink OJ.

Carter Malloy: If the tree grows large citrus specifically for juicing, you can't just change your mind and go, "We're going to grow Cuties this year in that tree."

Deidre Woollard: Exactly. You mentioned data scientists, obviously, one of the things that's really interesting with farming is the rise of ag tech. Everything from drones in the field to soil analysis. What kind of things do you see your farmers using? What excites you in the future about technology and the ways that it impacts farming?

Carter Malloy: That's a fun question. It's incredible. We have this Cambrian explosion going on right now. I think Silicon Valley, five years ago, discovered that, "Hey, a whole lot of people don't live in big cities and they grow things." So we're just seeing this absolute deluge, and for the farmers, frankly, it's overwhelming the amount of technology tools, and hardware, and software being presented to them. A lot of those are okay, some of them are amazing. With our farming partners, we see them run the gamut. Some of them don't want to be bleeding edge adopters because some of these technologies won't make it and so they maintain older equipment that they know is highly reliable, as an example. GPS guidance has been a pretty big game changer. Seed genetics were a game changer, I guess 34 years ago. Today, that's the in cab or in cabin changes to your own farm implemented machinery or having pretty material impacts. As we look forward the next 20 years, in my opinion, machine learning and in particular, visual analyses are things that are really going to have an impact and understanding your acreage in your farm and on a micro level as opposed to macro. As an example, not applying fertilizers in a blanket fashion to a 40-acre tract or a 400-acre tract, but instead, having precision application of those inputs for your farm. Better for your farm, better for your pocketbook, better for the environment. It's a big win. While huge advances have been made, the opportunities there are incredible and the impacts I think that they will have for all of us.

Deidre Woollard: There's no Tesla for tractors yet?

Carter Malloy: Not yet. I'm sure someone is trying, but hopefully, they're not rolling an empty tractor down the hill and claiming it's powered by batteries.

Deidre Woollard: Exactly. As we wrap up, I want to talk a little bit more about climate change just because I feel like that's such a big factor for people that are considering farming, investing. We're seeing strong hurricanes, things like that, we talked about fires and water. If someone is thinking about investing in farming and they're looking at the way that the climate is changing, what risks should they be thinking about?

Carter Malloy: It's a fascinating consideration and one we take very seriously, and I think one that leads us to always go to know a marginal land, land that is in already affected areas or areas that could soon be affected, we tend to steer from. A great example of this is the 100th Meridian we were discussing earlier. It's a line going up and down through the middle of the US, and it's a rough approximation for where precipitation occurs in that area every year and then it's shifting. You could buy a farm near there that today has 20-year precipitation and looks good, and in 10-20 years, will look very, very different. Those are certainly things to watch out for. As we mentioned earlier, water and fire risks in California, throughout the West Coast, are big considerations. Those extend throughout. There's climate change, there's also just usage. We're just using a lot of things as humans and one of those is water. There are areas in Arkansas where I live here, where we won't acquire farmland because the water table is declining. It's okay today. You can farm great today, but there are risks in 20 and 50 years that that may not be there. The closer we get to that terminal date, the more problematic it will become for devaluation of that particular parcel.

Deidre Woollard: Is there any good news in it in terms of longer growing seasons in areas in the North?

Carter Malloy: There's always a silver lining. Absolutely. There are trade-offs. To us, it appears there are likely more negative than positive ones, especially with past pressures coming and longer growing seasons. But the inverse of that is you're exactly right, in the further Northern climates, widening the window of your growing season a little bit can be advantageous for both timing of planting and harvest, as an example.

Deidre Woollard: You mentioned one thing that I want to just learn a little bit more about, which is pests. Obviously, it seems like this year was the murder hornets, but we're starting to see these stories in the news about different types of pests that come in and there a scramble to figure out how to mitigate their damage. Is that something that investors should also be thinking about if they're thinking about farmland? Is it something they should worry about?

Carter Malloy: There's a lot of types of pests, but the good news is, is that we as humans have gotten very good at fighting back against them. Well, the preference is to use less pesticides rather than more, and again, this isn't just an environmental concern, it's a cost concern. The farmers, they don't want to go spray extra pesticides, it costs them money. But in places where you do see more pressure from pests, then you can often offset that with inputs and applications.

Deidre Woollard: Makes sense. As we wrap up, what are you most excited about for the next five years of farming and why should investors be excited with you?

Carter Malloy: I think for us, it's cheesy, but we set out to improve liquidity and transparency in this great asset class. That's what we're after. It's happening, it's happening very quickly and its a lot of fun for the large and growing group of us working here together in AcreTrader. I'll float to that and say that's what I'm most excited about, is that improves transparency, it is better in liquidity. It's better for the farmers, better for the sellers, better for investors. So that's certainly what we are pursuing doggedly as a company and what we are most excited about.

Deidre Woollard: Nice. I like it. Thank you for your time and I just want to remind people that if you're interested in learning more about farmland investing, you can find Carter at acretrader.com. As he mentioned, they've got some very interesting data on row crops, and permanent crops, and all of the things that are happening in farming and a lot of things that you can use to make decisions if you decide to invest in farmland. Well, thank you.

Carter Malloy: Thank you, Diedre. Great to visit with you. Thanks for having me over. [MUSIC]

Deidre Woollard: Thank you for tuning into The Millionacres Podcast. I hope you liked today's show. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider subscribing through your favorite podcast provider. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop us a line at help@millionacres.com. Stay well and stay invested. [MUSIC] People on this program may have an interest in the deals, offerings, or services they discuss and Millionacres or the Motley Fool may have a formal recommendation for or against. Always consult a certified tax professional before acting on tax advice and do not buy or sell assets based solely on what you hear. [MUSIC]