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About Us

The TIAA-CREF Center for Farmland Research conducts research, hosts academic symposiums, and works to inform policy on issues related to farmland prices and the financial aspects of farm management. The Center is a specialized academic unit within the University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.   The Center also partners with and supports supports Farmdoc, the University’s widely-read online research program on the agricultural sector.  An advisory board of TIAA-CREF Executives and University representatives provides guidance for the Center.

“TIAA-CREF and the University of Illinois share a long-term perspective and a commitment to agricultural research. We are proud to collaborate with the University on this venture, which will generate more of the sophisticated research needed to drive long-term and sustainable practices by institutional investors, businesses and farmers,” said Heather Davis, head of TIAA-CREF’s global private fixed income and equity investments.  “Sustainable practices help ensure that farmers increase productivity to meet rising demand for food around the world, while maximizing land values over the long term.”

“Farmers, educators and investors rely upon the University of Illinois for leading-edge agricultural research,” said Robert J. Hauser, dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois. “The TIAA-CREF Center for Farmland Research will help us create the tools needed to promote sustainable and innovative agriculture practices and maintain our status as the premier source for farmland research.”

The Center’s research mission complements TIAA-CREF’s long-term commitment to sustainable investment in agriculture. The organization is a founding member of the Principles for Responsible Investment in Farmland, a group of international institutional investors that launched the principles in September 2011. These principles aim to improve sustainability, transparency and accountability of investments in farmland.  TIAA-CREF is also a signatory to the U.N. Principles for Responsible Investment.  The organization owns a majority interest in Westchester, a global agricultural asset manager, headquartered in Champaign, Ill. Westchester manages more than 400 high-quality, diverse farmland assets across the United States, Australia, South America and Europe.

Ongoing investment in agriculture continues to be important to meet increasing demand for food, fiber and fuel from developing economies and alternative energy mandates.  By 2030, the world’s farmland will likely have to support a population of more than 8 billion people — an increase that will require a 25 percent boost in agricultural productivity.

Advisory Board

Senior Executives from TIAA-CREF and faculty from the University of Illinois comprise the Advisory Board.


Bruce Sherrick Bruce J. Sherrick, Ph.D. Director, TIAA-CREF Center for Farmland Research, and Marjorie and Jerry Fruin Professor of Farmland Economics, University of Illinois (farmdoc bio
Todd Kuethe Todd H. Kuethe, Ph.D. Clinical Assistant Professor of Land Economics in the TIAA-CREF Center for Farmland Research, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois


Scott H. Irwin,Ph.D.  L.J. Norton Chair in Ag Marketing and farmdoc Team Leader (farmdoc bio

Paul N. Ellinger Ph.D. (farmdoc bio

Gary D. Schnitkey, Ph.D. (farmdoc bio

Nicholas D. Paulson, Ph.D. (farmdoc bio


TIAA-CREF  is a national financial services organization with $502 billion in assets under management (as of 12/31/12) and is the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.


About the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

The College of ACES offers tremendous opportunities for students and faculty to achieve success. More than 2,500 undergraduate students and nearly 750 graduate students have the opportunity to network, learn about careers, and contribute to the life of the College. ACES research encompasses initiatives in bioenergy, biotechnology, integrated landscapes, environmental sustainability, food and agricultural systems, global climate change, family resiliency, public policy and more.

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Advancing Farmland Markets through Research and Information