The Sower Team

Our team is comprised of professionals with an extensive track record of farmland investing, portfolio development and risk management. The diverse skill sets and experiences of the SFM team, combined with our deep, long-term relationships with farmers, tenants, real estate brokers, farm managers, landowners, capital providers and other leaders in the agriculture industry gives us a true competitive advantage.

Leadership

CHRIS CHARD
GENERAL PARTNER / MANAGING DIRECTOR

Chris brings over 25 years of experience in the investment industry. His background involves working in investor relations and fund raising with Family Offices, High Net Worth Individuals, Pension Plans, Endowments and Foundations. As a General Partner at Sower Chris believes the foundation of the firm’s success is built by putting the client’s interests first.

Chris graduated from the University of San Francisco with a BS in Marketing and an MBA with a concentration in Finance.

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ERIC MUELLER
GENERAL PARTNER / FUND MANAGER

With a 20 year career in farmland brokerage and management, Eric has procured, sold and managed thousands of acres of farmland, worth several hundred million dollars in value. As an established leader in the agricultural land and management sector, his clients and partners have included individuals, families, private and public funds, institutional investors and bank and trust company clients throughout the United States. Eric is an active member of many local, state and national real estate associations as well as civic and church boards, fundraising and capital campaign committees.

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MATT PICKENS
CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER

Matt has nearly 15 years of private equity and venture capital investment
experience across multiple asset classes, including commercial real estate,
energy, oil and gas, and healthcare. As our CIO and a member of the firm’s Investment Committee, Matt is responsible for developing and executing on the firm’s investment strategies and risk management policies. His operational responsibilities include analytics and due diligence oversight, transactional structuring, and financial reporting. Matt holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a specialization in Accounting from the University of Nebraska at
Omaha, and a Juris Doctor (Magna Cum Laude) from Mitchell Hamline School of Law. He is a licensed attorney in the state of Nebraska, as well as a Certified Public Accountant certificate holder.

JARED HOLLINGER
GENERAL PARTNER

As Principal and Co-Founder of Eleven Talents, LLC, Jared has over 18 years of experience at guiding real estate investments of all types. Jared has successfully navigated the real estate economy with holdings in single-family, multi-family, agricultural, commercial, retail and tax liens. This experience and growth has been facilitated by the belief in strong systems and processes coupled with good industry insight and work ethic.

Throughout his entrepreneurial career, he has always found value in real estate related assets and fully realized that value though propert planning for the best possible outcome. Over his career, Jared has been involved with the purchase and disposition of over 3,000 properties of various asset classes. Jared attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, graduating in 2002 with a degree in Construction Management.

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ADVISORY COMMITTEE

JIM FARRELL
SOWER FARMLAND ADVISOR

Jim is the retired President of and partner in Farrell Growth Group (FGG), an agribusiness consulting firm founded in 1997 comprised of top-quality professionals. Services include general agricultural consulting, an extensive financial benchmarking service to Ag Retailers (Crop protection companies), and Business Brokerage with complete Mergers and Acquisition services for Agribusiness. FGG also facilitates two peer-to-peer groups of top ag retailers in the U.S and Canada.

Prior to joining FGG, Jim held the position of CEO and President of Farmers National Company (FNC) for 15 years. FNC is headquartered in Omaha, NE, and is the nation’s largest farm and ranch management company. The 93-year-old employee-owned company today manages 5,000 farms for more than 6,000 landowners and is responsible for 2 million acres of farmland in 29 states. The company is also one of the country’s largest agriculture-related real estate brokerages, selling more than 600 farms and ranches per year. FNC’s operations also include an oil and gas management division in Tulsa, Oklahoma with more than 218,000 oil and gas interests under management. Other business lines include an appraisal, insurance, consultation, management of hunting leases, forest resource management, and lake management services. The company today has over $10 billion of assets under management.

Jim was appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s head office Board of Directors in 2015, and served as Board Chairman, retiring from the board in 2021. He previously served from 2009 through 2015 on the Omaha Federal Reserve Branch Bank Board of Directors, for 4 years as Chairman of that Board. Additional roles include 6 years of service on the Board of Directors of the Nebraska LEAD (Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council) Program, ending in 2019.

FRED HEPLER
SOWER FARMLAND ADVISOR

Fred is an Accredited Farm Manager, Accredited Agricultural Consultant, and an Accredited Land Consultant. Fred has been an active member in ASFMRA for over 39 years at the state and national levels.

Prior to his retirement, Fred was the Director of Acquisitions for farmland investments at AgVictus Capital Management, based in Alpharetta, GA. He has over 40 years of experience managing vertically integrated agricultural companies, representing public pension funds for farmland investments, managing large-scale direct farming operations, representing private individuals, trusts & corporations for farm management/consulting, and brokering agricultural real estate sales.

His diversified experience included developing a direct farming operation for a private equity firm which included over 50,000 acres in six states, building and managing the largest beef confinement feedlot in the US in conjunction with managing the direct farming operations associated with the feedlot and 18K irrigated acres, developing almond, hazelnut, and macadamia tree nut farms while being an EVP President at the Westchester Group, a Senior Asset Manager at BGMI Investments, a Senior Agricultural Portfolio Manager for Wexford Capital and a Farm Manager at the Foxley Cattle Company.

During his career, he has sold, managed, and/or farmed in 38 different states which involved 44 different crops including almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts. Fred brings an in-depth level of diversified experience in agriculture investment and operations management in the United States with some experience in Australia.

RAY WYSE
SOWER FARMLAND ADVISOR

Ray Wyse has been involved in the agricultural industry since 1991, and an active professional commodity trader in the agriculture futures and options markets since 2000. Most recently he was Managing Partner at an Omaha investment firm, managing money for institutional investors in the agricultural commodity markets from 2013 to 2017.

Prior to co-founding the investment firm, Ray was Senior Director of Trading and Economic Research at The Gavilon Group from 2007 to 2013. From 1991 to 2007, Ray was with the Archer Daniels Midland Company in North America and Europe. At ADM he managed oilseed processing facilities and later held a corporate position managing global risk in the oilseeds, grains, cocoa, energy, and foreign exchange markets. He is also a farmland owner and manages his family’s farm in Southeastern Iowa, as well as being involved in commercial real investments. Additionally, Ray does consult work for and is a sought-after speak to management teams at major protein, fertilizer, and grain companies.

Ray has served on the board of directors of the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange and the Seed Crushers and Oilseed Processors Association of the United Kingdom (SCOPA). He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management from Central College in Pella, Iowa.

INVESTMENT & PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT

DALE BURBACH
DIRECTOR OF ACQUISITIONS & PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT

Dale is serving as Director of Acquisitions & Portfolio Manager of Sower Farm Management, LLC. After graduating with a degree in Agricultural Sciences with an MBA from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he molded his career to support a passion for agriculture and real estate. After service in the agricultural community as a global business manager for a Fortune 500 company, Dale decided to tap into his entrepreneurial spirit by launching a fourteen-year career as a licensed real estate agent servicing clients in residential, commercial and agricultural markets. Prior to Sower Farm Management, LLC, Dale worked for seven years as Acquisitions Director for a privately held company that acquired and managed agricultural real estate assets valued at nearly a billion dollars. Dale has always professed a profound commitment to the land and to all those who serve it.

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LESLIE PINNIX
REGIONAL MANAGER

Having grown up in the Mississippi Delta, Leslie has spent his entire career in the agricultural industry ranging from farm management, real estate acquisitions, grain merchandising, and crop inputs. After graduating from Mississippi State University, Leslie went on to receive his AFM Designation from the American Society of Rural Farm Managers and Appraisers. Most recently as a Senior Farm Manager, Leslie oversaw the acquisitions and management of over $350 million of Mid-South Farmland assets for a large hedge fund. Leslie has a deep appreciation of the land and knows what it takes from a management perspective to ensure a profitable, sustainable relationship between the landowner and farm tenants.

CATHY PIRTLE
TRANSACTION AND MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST

Cathy is Sower Farm Management, LLC’s Transaction and Management Specialist. She has a BS in Paralegal Studies from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. Prior to Sower Farm Management, LLC, Cathy worked in a similar role for a privately held company that acquired and managed agricultural real estate assets valued at nearly a billion dollars. She also has experience supporting attorneys in residential, commercial, and utility-related real estate matters.

KEVIN LICKTEIG
REGIONAL PORTFOLIO MANAGER

Kevin has astutely navigated the acquisition and management of over $200 million of farmland assets for his HNW, institutional, and trust clients over the past 12 years. These endeavors have spanned from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast, with a focus on the Midwest. Kevin was also employed by commodity associations, conducting check-off research for corn and grain sorghum. These experiences have led Kevin to build a vast network of successful agricultural producers, suppliers, end users, and financial specialists. Kevin continues to own his family’s legacy farmland along with shares of various farmer group ethanol plants.

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AMY BOURNE
TRANSACTION AND MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST

Amy is Sower Farm Management, LLC’s Transaction and Management Specialist. She has a BA in English from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and has furthered her studies with paralegal coursework. Prior to Sower Farm Management, LLC, Amy worked in a similar role for a privately held company that acquired and managed agricultural real estate assets valued at nearly a billion dollars. She also has experience supporting attorneys in residential, commercial and utility-related real estate matters. Amy is also a RYT-200 certified yoga teacher.

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“The major fortunes in America have been made in land.”
– John D. Rockefeller