Agribusiness is pushing farmland prices higher and scaring politicians in its search for returns. Some operators are broadening their geographies.
Farmland in Latin America has become a hot investment in
recent years, pushing land prices in Brazil and Argentina to
unforeseen heights. Agribusiness companies in the region are
now facing the daunting obstacle of increased state regulation
over the ownership of prized farmland. Argentina's President
Cristina Kirchner last year issued new regulations that limit
the amount of farmland foreigners can control. Brazil is
following suit, and this year politicians are set to determine
what will happen to the market for Brazilian farmland, a
decision that will directly impact publicly-traded agribusiness
companies. Large farming operations such as Adecoagro,
BrasilAgro, and SLC Agrícola are all relative newcomers
to the capital markets, having listed their shares within the
last six years. All of them have made a business out of buying
large tracts of land, developing it into farmland and selling
it later at much higher prices. The visible hand of politics,
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