Meet Finley Merrill,
Investment Analyst

Finley Merrill is responsible for investment and portfolio-level financial analysis at AgIS Capital. He earned a B.A. in Economics from Bates College and an MBA from Babson College.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I grew up in the Boston area and my youth was spent in or on the ocean. My father owned a boat yard and my mother works in the marine technology industry. I grew up maintaining boats and fixing marine engines.

I started a B-Corp Certified business that exports tea from Malawi and tries to contribute to the development of the country. I enjoy the hard work involved in building businesses and I get inspiration from other entrepreneurial people, including the founders of AgIS Capital.

What is a typical day like as a Investment Analyst at AgIS Capital?

Portfolio Management sits in the middle of the various functions that make our organization tick. My days vary, depending on the time of year or the level of acquisition activity underway. I could start my day forecasting returns from an almond farm, and end it researching Indian import tariffs.

What do you enjoy most about being a Investment Analyst?

I enjoy the variability and the opportunity to learn from experts in the various functions at AgIS Capital. Part of my job is to make sure their knowledge is utilized fully in our deal underwriting, client communications, and decision-making. I try to absorb as much as I can and connect the dots.

Why did you choose Agriculture and what helped you to make that choice?

COVID-19 has reinforced how essential the agricultural economy is. Agriculture leaves a large footprint on the planet and employs many people to grow the food, fiber, caffeine, sugar, and countless other materials we value. It has also had an outsized impact on our societies over time, shaping human history in many ways. I hope to use the lessons of history and our scientific understanding of the impacts of our consumption to leave the world a better place than I found it.

What is the most interesting part about your job at AgIS Capital?

Farming and commodity markets are global. That creates complexity and opportunity. Political decisions around the world can have significant impacts on the profitability of farms here in the US. Just as we focus on efficiency on the farm, we must look outward to make sure we are focusing on the right crops altogether and taking the right risks within the industry.

What do you see in the future for the Agriculture world?

Trade policy and geopolitics will continue to distort the fundamental economics of agribusiness in unpredictable, sometimes arbitrary, ways.

Consumers in developing markets increasingly have the buying power, in dollars, for specialty or ‘clean label’ products. Innovative producers and marketers will find opportunity abroad.

The obvious connection between nutrition, public health, and health care will push demand toward products that are demonstrably healthier for the planet and humans… and their pets.

CRISPR-Cas9 (a specific, efficient, and versatile gene-editing technology) is looming on the horizon. I am hopeful that its applications will improve resource efficiency and quality, growing the opportunities in agriculture and providing a net benefit to the world’s farmers and consumers.

When you have some spare time what do you like to do?

I spend my free time having fun outside – surfing, skiing, fishing, sailing, or mountain biking. I love to travel and have a soft spot for Malawi, my wife’s home country. Go check it out if you can.