Growing the business. Cultivating our strengths. Harvesting the success.
Murray Wise founded the Westchester Group in 1986 after acquiring the Champaign, IL division of the Sandage Companies, a traditional farm management and brokerage firm. Soon after, Westchester Group formed a strategic partnership with Cozad Asset Management. What started with small farmland-investor relations in the Midwest soon grew into working with institutional investors on a national scale.
Then in 1988, Westchester collaborated with a firm specializing in auction marketing of farm machinery and real estate. This alliance combined auction experience with unprecedented marketing expertise, perfecting the sophisticated multi-parcel auction system that made Westchester Auctions the land marketing authority. Over the next 20 years, Westchester steadily grew to a be a national leader with offices in seven states, $900 million in agricultural assets for clients, and $2.0 billion in real estate sold, along with numerous marketing excellence awards.
In 2010, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Associations of America (TIAA) purchased a majority of the global investment division of Westchester Group. This allowed Westchester Auctions, now Murray Wise Associates and Murray Wise Capital, to focus on land and agribusiness transactions. In the years since the spin-off, Murray Wise Associates and its subsidiaries have managed over $780 million in farmland assets and sold over $925 million in agricultural assets at auction, through private treaty, and corporate restructuring transactions. We have acted as advisors for bankruptcies, distressed asset sales and estate motivated transactions as well as marketing, purchasing, and managing farmland across the United States.
MWA was acquired by Farmland Partners Inc. (NYSE: FPI) in November 2021, creating an unparalleled platform for farmland investing, including publicly traded equity, private asset management, farm brokerage and auctions, and individual farm management. Murray Wise continues to serve as CEO of MWA and now sits on the Board of Directors for FPI, which is the country’s biggest publicly traded farmland real estate investment trust (REIT) by acreage and owns or manages farmland in 18 states.