While Wall Street fiddles and the rest of the real estate market largely fizzles, there's a new hot commodity that has investors flocking to it: Farmland, reports the LA Times. Average farm real estate prices have doubled over the last decade, unlike, say, Florida condos, and many Americans and foreigners alike are turning to what they view as a safer alternative to the markets. "You want to throw your money into something you can't touch?" says one California farm manager. "Or do you want to put your money into soil and sun, into food that feeds people?"
It's perhaps a sign of the times that people are investing in something as tangible as dirt, notes the Times, but there are also some solid numbers in the historically unprofitable and unpredictable field: Money sunk into farming since the recession's start would have easily outpaced anything invested in the Standard & Poor's 500. Investors usually band together in groups to buy land, find a farmer to farm it, and collect some combination of rent or crop profits.