We seek to create and manage customized, diversified, sustainable agricultural portfolios on behalf of our clients. Operating as Hancock Natural Resource Group, a Manulife Investment Management company, we’re one of the largest institutional managers of agricultural real estate in the United States. We oversee approximately 340,000 acres of prime farmland in major agricultural regions in the United States, Canada, and Australia.


We seek to invest in a portfolio of diversified farms, leveraging our strong regional relationships to gain access to a variety of crop types, commodity types, geographies, and operating structures. Our proprietary research informs our investment decisions and drives strategic operational decisions. We believe our global acquisition pipeline provides opportunities to construct customized agricultural investment solutions.

Our integrated property management can help reduce costs, enhance alignment of interests, optimize land use, and ensure that commitment to sustainability carries through from investment strategy development to strategy execution.

As a steward of agricultural holdings, we’re committed to conducting all of our business activities in a manner that preserves and enhances the quality of our environment and local communities, empowers our people, and provides market-rate returns for our clients. We manage our assets as good stewards of the land, the environment, and the community on behalf of our investors. 

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Managed by

William E. Peressini

President and CEO, Hancock Natural Resource Group

Bill is responsible for the overall management of Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG) and works closely with the executive team in carrying out those responsibilities. In August 2015, he was elected an HNRG board director. Prior to becoming CEO, Bill was the president and CFO of HNRG, a role in which he was responsible for the financial management of the firm, its subsidiaries and investment entities, the accounting and reporting of client investments, information systems, human resources, and administration. Bill joined HNRG in 2011 and has been involved in all of its major strategic growth initiatives, such as the acquisition of Farmland Management Services and the formation of Hancock Farmland Services. Prior to joining HNRG, he held senior management positions at Stimson Lumber, a privately held, integrated forest products company, and at PacifiCorp, an energy and telecommunications company.

  • Education: B.S. in Business, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; M.B.A., DePaul University
  • Joined the company: 2011
  • Began career: 1978 
William E. Peressini

Courtland L. Washburn, Ph.D.

Chief Investment Officer, Hancock Natural Resource Group

Court is responsible for investment strategy and economic research at Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG), a Manulife Investment Management company. He’s a leading expert on the application of financial economic models to forest assets and timberland companies, and his research has been published in numerous economics, finance, and forestry journals. Court began his career at HNRG in 1990, and he’s a chairman of the HNRG natural resource investment committee, with authority to implement investment actions on behalf of its clients.

  • Education: M.S. in Forest Policy, University of California; Ph.D. in Forest Economics, Yale University
  • Joined the company: 1990
  • Began career: 1985
Courtland L. Washburn, Ph.D.

Oliver S. Williams IV, CFA

Global Head of Agriculture Investments, Hancock Natural Resource Group

Oliver is responsible for the overall direction and growth of Hancock Agricultural Investment Group’s (HAIG’s) institutional farmland investment program. He is a member of the senior management team of Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG) and serves on its executive committee. He also leads the management team for HAIG, serves on HAIG’s investment committee, and chairs company boards for HAIG’s Australian investment vehicles. Previously, Oliver headed HAIG’s asset management function and was part of the HAIG senior management team. Prior to joining the firm in 1997, he spent five years with the First Pioneer Farm Credit, where he was responsible for evaluating and appraising farmland and farm businesses for potential loans. Oliver holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, and is a member of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, the Association for Investment Management and Research, and the Boston Security Analysts Society.

  • Education: B.S. in Agricultural Economics, Cornell University
  • Joined the company: 1997
  • Began career: 1997
Oliver S. Williams IV, CFA

Key facts

Inception date


Strategy AUM (USD)



Private markets


72,147 acres of farmland certified 

Important disclosures

ESG statistics are as of October 31, 2019. All other information shown is as of December 31, 2019, unless otherwise indicated.

Data includes assets managed by Manulife Investment Management and its affiliates on behalf of Manulife’s Canadian and U.S. General Accounts and also certain third-party investors. AUM of Hancock Agricultural Investment Group, an operating division of Hancock Natural Resource Group, Inc., managed on a discretionary and non discretionary basis for the General Account, its affiliates and third party clients. Investment opportunities are offered to institutional investors through Hancock Natural Resource Group. 


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