U of I and TIAA-CREF launch Center for Farmland Research
drive agriculture research and education to support long-term,
sustainable farmland investments
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[March 15, 2013]
NEW YORK -- TIAA-CREF, a leading
financial services provider, launched the TIAA-CREF Center for
Farmland Research at the University of Illinois on Wednesday. The
new center will enhance the university's research and educational
initiatives for its students and the agricultural community,
including investors, farmers, researchers and businesses.
The TIAA-CREF Center for Farmland Research will conduct research
and host academic symposiums focused on farmland prices and the
financial aspects of farm management. The center will serve as a
specialized academic unit within the university's College of
Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. It will also
support Farmdoc, the university's widely read online research
program on the agricultural sector. An advisory board of
TIAA-CREF and university representatives will provide guidance
for the center.
"TIAA-CREF and the University of Illinois
share a long-term perspective and a commitment to agricultural
research," said Heather Davis, head of TIAA-CREF's global
private fixed income and equity investments. "We are proud to
collaborate with the university on this venture, which will
generate more of the sophisticated research needed to drive
long-term and sustainable practices by institutional investors,
businesses and farmers. Sustainable practices help ensure that
farmers increase productivity to meet rising demand for food
around the world, while maximizing land values over the long
"Farmers, educators and investors rely upon the University of
Illinois for leading-edge agricultural research," said Robert J.
Hauser, dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and
Environmental Sciences at the U of I. "The TIAA-CREF Center for
Farmland Research will help us create the tools needed to
promote sustainable and innovative agriculture practices and
maintain our status as the premier source for farmland
The center's research mission complements TIAA-CREF's
long-term commitment to sustainable investment in agriculture.
The financial services organization is a founding member of the
Principles for Responsible Investment in Farmland, a group of
international institutional investors that launched the
principles in September 2011. These principles aim to improve
sustainability, transparency and accountability of investments
in farmland. TIAA-CREF is also a signatory to the U.N.
Principles for Responsible Investment. The organization owns a
majority interest in Westchester, a global agricultural asset
manager, headquartered in Champaign, Ill. Westchester manages
more than 400 high-quality, diverse farmland assets across the
United States, Australia, South America and Europe.
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Ongoing investment in agriculture continues to be important to meet
increasing demand for food, fiber and fuel from developing economies
and alternative energy mandates. By 2030, the world's farmland will
likely have to support a population of more than 8 billion people --
an increase that will require a 25 percent boost in agricultural
TIAA-CREF owns or manages approximately $4 billion in
high-quality farmland -- more than 600 properties totaling more than
1 million acres -- in major grain-producing regions including the
United States, Australia, South America and Eastern Europe.3 The
firm typically leases the land to local farmers.
The University of Illinois is a world leader in research and
discovery and is the largest educational institution in the state,
with more than 76,000 students, 5,771 faculty and staff, and
campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The
university awards more than 19,000 undergraduate, graduate and
professional degrees annually.
TIAA-CREF is a national
financial services organization with $502 billion in assets under
management as of Dec. 31, 2012, and is the leading provider of
retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural
The University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and
Environmental Sciences offers many opportunities for students and
faculty to achieve success. More than 2,500 undergraduate students
and nearly 750 graduate students have the opportunity to network,
learn about careers and contribute to the life of the college.
Research at the College of ACES encompasses initiatives in bioenergy,
biotechnology, integrated landscapes, environmental sustainability,
food and agricultural systems, global climate change, family
resiliency, public policy, and more.
TIAA-CREF news release
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and
This material is for informational purposes only and should not be
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