- September 2009: Vol. 21 No. 8

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Shop Talk: A Conversation with Howard Kaplan

by Rachel Speirs

When the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) passed in 1974, it opened the door for pension fund investing in alternative assets. Among those new alternative assets were agricultural land and timber, which investors identified early on as a steady, relatively safe long-term investment that could deliver equity-like returns with bond-like risk. Today, with the growing momentum behind biofuels and continuing demand coming from emerging markets, timber and agricultural land investments are once again proving their strength as alternative core investments.

Howard Kaplan, president of ORG Natural Resources, recently spoke with Rachel Speirs, editor of The Institutional Real Estate Letter — North America, about the latest trends in timber and agriculture industries and what it all means for natural resource real estate investments.

The big question on investors’ minds these days is how to deal with deleveraging prices and constricted cre

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