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Nuts for Nuts: Investors Show Increased Interest in CA Almond & Pistachio Farms

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Photo by HealthAliciousNess on Flickr
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We all know raw almonds have become a staple when it comes to health food snacks, but who ever thought it would be the next hot investment for the financial set? Investors have taken a great interest in the farming economy, looking to it as an alternative money-maker to the unstable financial sector. The two largest types of farms seeing a boost here in California are almonds and pistachios.

The involvement in such investments are so high, in fact, that there are now agricultural investment groups that specifically cater to those looking to finance farmland purchases.

Says the Times:

The average cost of an acre of farm real estate in California rose to $7,200 this year, roughly $300 above last year's record, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Some of the highest-priced land is in the almond-growing region of San Joaquin Valley's Tulare County, where an acre can fetch $15,000 to $19,000. Just two years ago, the price was in the $13,000-to-$16,000 range, according to surveys by the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers' California chapter.

The boom is partially due to the rapidly growing economy in China, where citizens have a hearty appetite for our state's ag goods such as pistachios and almonds.
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All of this appeals to investors. "Farmland is lower risk and probably higher returning than commercial real estate, timberland, bond funds and equity funds," Charles Allison, head of Prudential's agriculture investment portfolio, told the Times.

But many are wary of when the boom will burst, leaving the farmers vulnerable. Those working the land have also recently been subject to things like colony collapse here in California, so it's not to say the market is immune.