No. of Recommendations: 1
Socially responsible investing isn't simple, and it often comes down to the preferences of each individual investor.

That's been my problem with this kind of investing from the start. Who defines responsible?

I have just made my first two investments in China. SEED (I just started a Foolish board for this one) and FEED. I used the ticker symbols so it was clearer what they did. FEED, besides animal feed, is a major pork producer.

FEED is a Herb Greenberg throw-out. It is a reverse merger IPO. Yikes! Barron's doesn't like these companies:

FEED raises pigs with the goal of improving their genetics and using modern breeding techniques. FEED provides the piglets. Farmers "finish" them (a fancy work from raise them to market weight). In September, FEED acquired M2P2 LLC based in Ames, Iowa. M2P2 is a leading U.S. hog production company, having set standards of excellence in innovation, productivity and efficiency in pork production. M2P2's Chairman joined FEED's board.

What attracted me to the stock was what sent other investors fleeing.

During the second quarter the Company faced an extremely difficult operating environment as a result of a series of severe floods throughout its area of operations. The floods led to significant operating disruptions on the Company’s farms and on the transportation infrastructure supporting the operations. The movement of feed and live animals was severely disrupted. These factors lead to the loss of over 16,000 live animals in addition to the planned culling of 3,000 sows.

Mr. Gerry Daignault, AgFeed’s COO emphasized, “While AgFeed has supported its customers with extended payment terms from time to time, in light of the industry wide operating pressures we limited this practice during the quarter and reduced accounts receivable by over $5.6 million from March 31st. We also reduced our payables by approximately $3.4 million while also continuing our capital investment program to support of expansion in an amount over $3.3 million.”

What I saw was not a disaster that hurt their business. That was already baked into the sotck. Here is a small company trying to make a big difference. I knew they were trying to modernize their operations with the intent of providing a better product to the farmer. I knew that pork is a staple of the Chinese diet and is the primary source of the protein consumed in China. What caught my eye was "extended payment terms" being offered.

To help farmers stay or enter into the business of raising pigs, the company extends credit through their feed operations. This is a win-win that, although curtailed recently because of Mother Nature, is certainly socially responsible.

China also has a green program. FEED is recognized by that program.

We have received “Green Certification” from the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China for our premix products under the brand label “BEST”. This means that these products are safe, environmentally friendly, and can effectively promote the healthy growth of pigs.

This is Alyce's board and she is the sole person responsible for its leadership and portfolio. I know Alyce and like her very much. But, when it comes to defining responsible, I am not going to exclude green companies who can also help the small farmer because they are in China. Billions of people are trying to work themselves out from under the burden of poverty. If I can find companies that I think are going to help do this in a very responsible manner I am going to consider them for investment.

Just one ol' guys opinion...

Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.