A decent yield is pretty hard to come by these days. Which is why when you hear about two asset classes with the promise of double digit returns, it gets investors' attention.
Dennis Moon, managing director, specialty asset management, at U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management, told CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Thursday why it pays to invest in Mother Nature.
"Farm, ranch and timberland are all great great hedges against inflation," said Moon. "Less than one percent of all U.S. crop and forest land is held by investment funds. This is a way to get into a hard asset class outside the stock and bond markets."
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According to data compiled by the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries, farmland as an asset class returned more than 20 percent in income and combined appreciation last year. Over the past ten years, farmland returned over eight percent per year.
"Land offers both long and short returns," said Moon. "You not only get the bounty from the property, you also own the actual land itself."
A pine tree plantation in Georgia, for instance, can service the lumber and housing market some years, the paper and pulp and cardboard box industries in other years.
A portfolio holding timberland can also be diversified among tree species. Cherry and maple trees grown in Maine or New York are primarily used in furniture or kitchen cabinets, while higher quality wood from Pacific Northwest species, including Douglas fir and hemlock, command higher prices from overseas buyers.
"Timberland and farmland are not sexy, but they are steady," said Moon. "And in a volatile market, you could see net returns anywhere between three-and-a-half to four percent short-term, and double digits long-term, depending upon your horizon. This is a unique and profitable asset class to own right now."
According to Moon, there is also another very compelling reason to "buy American dirt."
"Trees will grow no matter what happens in the Middle East," said Moon. "Which is why investments in things you can touch and feel will never let you down."