Global agribusiness firm Optimum Agriculture has expanded its Osceola County holdings, paying $7.9 million on Friday for 1,363 acres of orange groves adjacent to the El Maximo Ranch.
It was the second major Central Florida acquisition this year for the company, which partnered with the Investment Corporation of Dubaito finance large agricultural investments in the U.S. and Argentina.
Land specialist Dean Saunders, managing partner of Saunders Real Estate in Lakeland, brokered the sale. He said the grove is well-maintained and productive, but it was just outside of Alico's core Polk County market, and it's proximity to El Maximo made the firm a natural buyer.
"The citrus grove used to be a part of the ranch," he said.
Saunders said citrus groves have been transacting at a rapid pace, and it's not all for development.
"The smaller growers are getting out of the business, and the big growers are getting bigger," he said. "There's a lot of consolidation. The growers feel like they have to have scale to make it work."