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Being Like Soros in Buying Farmland Reaps Annual Gains of 16%

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Perry Vieth baled hay on a neighbor’s farm in Wisconsin for two summers during high school in 1972 and 1973. The grueling labor left him with no doubt about getting a college degree so that he’d never have to work as hard again for a paycheck. Thirty-eight years later, and after a career as a securities lawyer and fixed-income trader, Vieth is back on the farm.

Except, now, he owns it. As co-founder of Ceres Partners LLC, a Granger, Indiana-based investment firm, Vieth oversees 61 farms valued at $63.3 million in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Tennessee. He’s so enthusiastic about the investments that he quit a job in 2008 overseeing $7 billion in fixed-income assets at PanAgora Asset Management Inc., a Boston-based quantitative money management firm, to focus full time on farming, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its September issue.