Biofuels have a new booster: your pension and retirement fund. Retirement funds are buying millions of acres of farmland in the United States, Brazil, Australia, and elsewhere, citing the world’s growing need for food and raw materials. But these retirement funds aren’t interested in supporting small, family farms or local food systems. They want to make money, and that means expanding large-scale, monocrop agribusiness and industrial biofuels.
The retirement fund TIAA (formerly TIAA-CREF) – which manages the retirements of millions of teachers, professors, and school administrators – is the largest institutional investor of farmland in the world, controlling over 1.5 million acres of land, worth around $8 billion on at least three continents.