Finding An Equity Partner

By Lindsay Humphrey & Howard Halderman

01 /08 /24

When a prime piece of land comes up for sale, what’s a farmer to do at the drop of the gavel when they simply don’t have the capital to scoop it up? Halderman is an excellent resource in this realm, but now there’s a new player adding another avenue.

Other than draining a savings account or liquidating existing assets, a farmer’s best resource for quick cash is their access to debt equity. Almost 50 percent of all farm loans are held by some sort of farm credit entity while roughly 30 percent of those loans are managed by commercial banks. A host of other entities make up the remaining 20 percent.

“Second to borrowing debt equity, a farmer could identify a property they want to farm and then take that land to a potential investor,” said Halderman President F. Howard Halderman. “That investor could be a local community member, a 1031 exchange investor, maybe someone from an institution, but no matter who the investor is, the farmer pitches the purchase of that land with the intention of leasing it to farm.”

Finding someone to invest in farm ground sounds like a daunting task and it certainly can be. It’s a lot of leg work for the farmer to essentially be a salesman for land he wants for himself.

“One good place to start would be with any current landlords a farmer might already be working with since they might be interested in purchasing more land,” Halderman said. “Institutional farmland buyers are also an option. If you call us at Halderman, we can make it simple. It’s one of our service areas.”

Connecting farmers with real estate investors is just one of the many ways Halderman is making life just a little bit easier for Indiana, Ohio and Michigan farmers.

Some new faces have entered the farmland capital space recently. AcreTrader offers a farmer the opportunity to do a sale-leaseback through a retail channel reaching smaller investors.

Additionally, arriving on the scene in August 2023, Fractal Agriculture is one of those potential equity partners who could make your next land acquisition a breeze.

Fractal Agriculture

“Every farmer has a list of must-have farms they want to add to their operation,” said Brian Grundtner, who leads farmer engagement for Fractal Agriculture. “However, most farmers don’t have the capital on hand when needed to purchase new ground. That’s where we come in.”

A lack of capital presents immense opportunity and risk for farmers. As the average age of landowners increases, farmers are being presented with more and more land deals – many of them they can’t capitalize on.

“We’ve heard so many stories of farmers losing ground that they’ve rented for 10 to 20 years simply because they couldn’t figure out how to finance it when it comes up for sale,” Grundtner said. “In some cases, these farmers risk losing 15-20 percent of their land base overnight.”

Headquartered in Minnesota, Fractal Agriculture predicts that if you’re missing out on land sales now then you likely won’t ever see that property change hands again in your lifetime.

“Some 35 percent of all farmland in this country is owned by people who are 75 and older,” Grundtner explained. “And in ag states like Iowa, once land is up for sale it usually won’t be sold again for another 60 years on average.”

It just doesn’t make sense for a farmer to be caught without a definitive way to acquire capital.

“We’re a passive investor that takes minority ownership positions in farmer’s owned land over a 10-year period,” Grundtner said. “In exchange, farmers access capital they need while maintaining control of the land. There are no title changes and farmers control management decisions, all with the security of a 10-year investor commitment.”

Fractal helps farmers access capital by unlocking the equity they already have in land they own.

Secondary to the bank, and any bank notes on the property, Fractal works alongside debt., Fractal makes the ability to grow an operation about as simple as it gets.

“This isn’t debt; we’re a long-term partner aligned with the farmer that shares in their growth,” Grundtner said. “We share in the appreciation or depreciation of the property and charge an annual premium on the minority position.”

After the first two years of the contract, farmers have the option to buy their property back at any time without any penalties.

“In summary, we’re driven to help farmers own more of the land they farm,” Grundtner said. “With Fractal, farmers can access the equity locked in their land that they couldn’t tap into otherwise. They also get the control and flexibility needed to expand on their terms. We succeed when the farmer succeeds.”

For more information about Fractal Agriculture, visit

For more information about Halderman services, visit