A Glossary of Farmland Investing
An acre-foot is a unit of volume used to measure water. It is defined as the amount of water that covers one acre of land to a depth of one foot, or 43,560 cubic feet. It is commonly used to measure large quantities of water, such as the amount used for irrigation, and is equivalent to approximately 326,000 gallons. An acre-foot of water is a large amount of water and is often used as a benchmark for water usage in agriculture and other industries.
An aquifer is a geological formation that can store and transmit water. It is a permeable layer of rock, sand, gravel, or other material that contains water and allows it to move through the porous spaces. Aquifers are recharged by precipitation and other surface water, and are typically located underground. They are important sources of water for wells, springs, and other types of water supply systems, especially in areas with limited surface water resources. Aquifers can be susceptible to over-extraction and contamination, so it is important to manage their use sustainably.
Bad water is water that has too much sediment or salts and other chemicals in it to be used for irrigation or drinking without substantial, costly filtering.
In agriculture, a "block" refers to a specific area of land that is used for growing crops. A block is typically a contiguous piece of land with defined boundaries, and can range in size from a few acres to several dozen acres. Blocks are used to manage and track production, costs, and yields for different types of crops, and we use them for precision agriculture to implement site-specific management practices. By dividing land into smaller blocks, we can better understand the variability in soil type, water availability, and other factors that affect crop growth and production, and can make more informed decisions about inputs such as seed, fertilizer, and water.
Bonus depreciation allows businesses to deduct an outsized percentage of the cost of certain real estate purchases in the same year they were acquired instead of their value depreciating over a period of time. In some cases, this can allow investors to get tax deductions against their initial investments in the first year of the life of a project.
Brix machines are used to measure the sugar content of crops, primarily grapes and other fruit crops. This measurement is used to determine the maturity of the crops, and can affect the pricing and harvest schedule. The higher the Brix reading, the higher the sugar content and potential alcohol content of the fruit.
Calendar farming, for centuries, was the only way farming was conducted. Farmers would have specific dates set during the lifecycle of their crops for applying irrigation, usually based on seasons and not necessarily based on the optimal time for the fruit itself. Many smaller farmers still use the calendar method of farming but at Bravante, we gauge the perfect time for watering our crops employ the deficit irrigation model to optimize fruit quality and pricing.
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California’s Central Valley is a large valley that runs through the central portion of the state. Much of the state’s agriculture is located in this valley. The valley runs from Bakersfield in the south and north past Sacramento, the state capitol. It is made up of two valleys, the San Joaquin Valley, near Bakersfield, and the Sacramento Valley.
Deficit irrigation is a farming technique where crops are intentionally grown with less water than they would normally require. This is done by controlling the amount and timing of water applied to the crops, and is used to improve water use efficiency and reduce water usage in agriculture. Deficit irrigation can also be used to manipulate the growth and development of crops, leading to increased yields, improved fruit quality, and increased drought tolerance.
Drip irrigation is a method of watering crops in which water is delivered directly to the root zone of the plant, drop by drop. It is a low-volume irrigation method that minimizes water loss from evaporation, runoff, and deep percolation, and is highly efficient in terms of water use. Drip irrigation systems consist of a network of tubes, pipes, and emitters that are placed near the plant roots. The water is delivered to the plants in a slow, controlled manner, and can be adjusted to meet the specific needs of different crops. Drip irrigation is widely used in arid and semi-arid regions, as well as in high-value crops where water use efficiency and precision is critical, such as vineyards and orchards.
Synonymous with the word ‘ranch,’ is an area of land dedicated to agricultural production.
Flood irrigation is a method of irrigation in which fields are flooded with water. The water is typically obtained from a canal, river, or well, and is spread evenly over the field. Flood irrigation is the most common method of irrigation in the world, especially in areas with abundant water resources. It is simple, inexpensive, and effective for large fields, but can lead to water waste and soil degradation if not managed properly.
Good water is water that is readily usable for irrigation due to its chemical makeup and nutrients.
Groundwater is water that is stored in underground aquifers, or porous rock and soil formations. It is replenished by precipitation that seeps into the ground, and can be pumped out for use through wells. Groundwater is a critical source of water for agriculture, municipal supply, and industrial uses, especially in areas with limited surface water resources. Groundwater can be sustainable if it is managed carefully and recharged through measures such as reduced pumping, increased recharge, and improved water management practices. However, over-extraction and contamination can lead to declining water levels and quality, so it is important to monitor and manage groundwater resources effectively.
The acronym GSA stands for Groundwater Sustainability Agencies. The initial Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) created more than 260 GSAs across California’s 140 water basins. As the SGMA program expands, more GSAs may be developed. The GSAs are designed to monitor the progress of the SGMA across the state by establishing plans for equitable access to limited water supplies.
Net acres, in contrast to 'Gross Acres', refers to the usable land area on a farm, which is the portion of the land that is available for crops to be grown on. This takes into account any areas that are not suitable for cultivation, such as waterways, wetlands, or steep slopes.
A perennial is a plant that regrows or maintains itself for two or more years. The term is synonymous with ‘permanent’ because both refer to crops that do not need newly planting each year.
Permanent, or ‘perennial’, crops are plants that live for many years but still need harvesting on a yearly basis. Fruit and nut trees would be examples.
In horticulture, a rootstock is a plant or portion of a plant that is used as the root system for another plant, called the scion. The rootstock provides anchorage and support for the scion, as well as influencing its growth and development. Rootstocks can affect the size and vigor of the scion, its drought tolerance and disease resistance, and its adaptation to different soils and climatic conditions. Rootstocks are often selected for specific qualities, such as disease resistance or the ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions, and are a critical component in the success of many fruit trees, grapevines, and ornamental plants. The use of rootstocks is a key tool in improving the productivity, sustainability, and profitability of our crops here at Bravante Farm Capital.
Row crops are the type of crops that needs its seeds to be replanted and harvested every year. For instance, think of many grains, corn, or potatoes.
A stone fruit is a fruit with a pit. Apricots, cherries, plums, and peaches are all stone fruits.
In the Central Valley, subsidence refers to the sinking or settling of the ground surface as a result of excessive pumping of groundwater. When groundwater is pumped out of the ground faster than it can be replenished, the water table can drop, causing the ground surface to settle or sink. This can lead to a loss of soil structure, cracking of the ground, and damage to buildings and other structures. In some areas, subsidence can be severe and result in significant economic losses for farmers and landowners. Subsidence is a common problem in the South Central Valley outside of The Oasis because of historical heavy reliance on groundwater for agriculture, urban water supply, and industrial use, and has been exacerbated by over-pumping and long-term drought. To mitigate the impact of subsidence, SGMA was passed to manage groundwater resources sustainably, by reducing pumping and increasing recharge, as well as by using alternative water sources and improving water conservation practices.
Surface water is stored in reservoirs and delivered to our farms usually via above ground pipelines and canals.
SGMA refers to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which is a California state law enacted in 2014. It aims to ensure the long-term sustainability of groundwater resources in California, particularly in the Central Valley. The Central Valley of California is heavily dependent on groundwater as a source of water for agricultural irrigation and urban use, and SGMA is aimed at addressing the over-extraction of groundwater that has been taking place in the region for decades. The law requires the creation of local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) to manage groundwater use and ensure that it is sustainable in the long term.
Tipping is a farming technique specifically referring to grapes, where a portion of the bunch of grapes, usually around the lower one third, is clipped off during the growing cycle to ensure what remains is of optimal size, juice and sugar content.
A water district is state defined area overseen by a governing body that allocates water resources within its boundaries. The entire Central Valley is made up of a mosaic of water districts, some with vastly more water reserves than others. Those we focus on in The Oasis are those districts with the greatest water resources in the southern valley
A wind machine is a tall metal post with a propeller placed in or near a field. Designed to mix cold and warm air, especially at night, to prevent crops from freezing.