Garrett Grasmick is a member of the AgIS Capital Acquisitions Team. His role focuses on sourcing prospective assets for our clients’ portfolios, overseeing our due diligence efforts, and supporting the work required to “on-board” new farmland properties once they have been acquired. A native of Colorado, Garrett grew up around farming and ranching and has worked in agricultural operations and management roles in the Plains States and U.S. Southeast. He holds both a BS and an MBA in agricultural disciplines from Texas Tech University.
I grew up farming and ranching in Colorado then decided to go to Texas Tech University. I earned my BS in Agricultural and Applied Economics in two and a half years and then immediately began working on a Master’s in Agribusiness. After college, I moved to Georgia and worked for the largest grower, packer, and shipper of sweet onions in the United States. When I was offered a position at AgIS Capital, I moved to Boston, which was an interesting experience because I had never lived in a large city. I met my wife shortly thereafter and following our wedding we relocated to Austin, Texas, which gives AgIS a presence in the U.S. Southwest for building relationships with prospective transaction partners.
Being an Acquisitions Officer
My job entails sourcing acquisition opportunities for our clients’ portfolios. I enjoy my work because it allows me to combine my academic training and professional experience. I also enjoy building relationships – and that is really an important part of what I do. Competition for deals in the agricultural sector can be intense and sometimes the difference between being selected as a transaction partner by a seller is the degree to which you are able to build a personal relationship with them – a relationship that is based on trust and mutual respect. The other thing I like about my job is that it allows me to interact with every aspect of our organization. We have people here with vast amounts of knowledge and experience in different aspects of agricultural investment and being able to work closely and directly with them members of our investment, portfolio and operations teams is always a learning experience. It allows me to see how different ideas and perspectives can be molded to produce the best possible outcomes with an investment opportunity.
I wouldn’t describe my days as typical in any way. The “typical day” does not exist in my world. One day I can be on the phone pursuing a new opportunity or developing a due diligence plan for an asset we are thinking about buying. The next I can be on the ground looking at a different asset, talking to the current owner, and trying to form an impression of it capacity to add value for one of our clients’ portfolios. The day after that, I can be working with our investment and operations teams on modeling a prospective acquisition. Later in the week, I can be running herd on the details associated with getting a deal closed. A big part of my work also entails continuously expanding my network of relationships with prospective sellers of agricultural properties. As I said earlier, relationships are the lifeblood of acquisitions and you have to invest the time to build them.
Agriculture as a Profession
I grew up in a rural community that is entirely dependent on agriculture. I have seen firsthand how agriculture plays a vital role in our lives. Agriculture is the one economic sector that we cannot survive without. We not only need food, but rural communities depend on farming. Communities that have strong and deep agricultural roots are healthier economically because agricultural production is four times as effective at reducing rural poverty as the next most impactful business sector. I find working in agriculture intellectually stimulating, but I also find it very rewarding because I think it can have a very positive impact on the world.
Working at AgIS Capital
Beyond the variety of functions in which I participate, and the ability I have to work with and learn from my colleagues, the other thing I really enjoy about my work is the variety of commodities in which we invest on behalf of our clients. One day I can be knee deep in a pistachio acquisition opportunity. The next day, I can be working on an apple deal. The day after that, I may be studying regional supply, demand and pricing dynamics relating to a prospective almond purchase. Initially, it was a little challenging juggling multiple commodity groups like this, but the things you learn about one type of commodity often can be applied to another and that builds a really strong and varied foundation that I believe leads to better and more informed decision making.
The Future of Agriculture
When I look to the future, I see regenerative farming practices becoming commonplace. Regenerative agriculture improves the land by regenerating and revitalizing the soil and the environment. This improves soil health, which enhances its ability to produce high quality, nutrient-rich food. This practice should increase food production, lower carbon emissions, and increase income for farmers. On a personal level, I am also interested in the practice because it preserves and combines traditional farming knowledge with new technology applications – the best of both worlds.
When we bought a house in Austin, I didn’t realize how many items would need to be fixed, replaced or improved. As a result, in addition to being an Acquisitions Officer with AgIS Capital, I’ve also become an electrician, carpenter, painter, plumber, mechanic, and gardener. My side project right now is trying to see how much power I can add to my lawnmower. When the housework becomes monotonous, or I just need a break, I love skydiving and riding my motorcycle.