A second Warren Buffett son has gone into farming, sort of.
The foundation run by Peter Buffett and his wife, Jennifer, bought a 1,255-acre vegetable farm in New York’s Hudson Valley for $13 million (about $10,350 an acre) to help its transition from private farm to nonprofit education and research center.
The NoVo Foundation intends to hold the Gill Farm near Kingston, N.Y., until an independent organization can be formed to operate it as a “farm hub” dedicated to sustainable agriculture, farmer training and related services.
The farm is a part of the Local Living Economy program that NoVo has been funding through the New World Foundation of New York City, Peter Buffett told The World-Herald.
“Because ‘local’ always starts with one’s own backyard, we thought we should research ours,” said Buffett, who lives in upstate New York.
“We found that farmer training as well as other agricultural/economic support could create a model for other communities that are interested in reinstating their place in the food chain — and in doing so, create jobs, healthier food supplies in schools and other institutions and a host of other benefits.”
Unlike his brother, Howard, who directly oversees his farm in Illinois and works the land himself when he’s not engaged with his foundation, Peter will have former owner John Gill as the New York farm’s manager.
Cornell University’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and area ag groups also are working on the project.
Warren Buffett failed to make headway this year in his quest to turn his fortune over to charity.
The 30 percent increase in Berkshire’s stock price this year is the culprit.
Despite his July donation of a record $2.6 billion worth of shares in Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the Omaha-based conglomerate he heads, the paper value of Buffett’s holdings increased during 2013 from $47 billion to $59.3 billion.
Since 2006 Buffett has given shares annually to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four Buffett family foundations. At the times they were donated, they were worth a total of $15.9 billion.
If the Berkshire price continues gaining into July 2014, the foundations will see another record contribution. Buffett uses a formula to determine how many shares to give, regardless of the per-share price.
Buffett’s Berkshire holdings totaled $44 billion in 2006 when he pledged to give most of his money to the foundations. If he had held on to the donated shares, the total likely would top $80 billion today.
Buffett donated $10 million to Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Israel, according to his friend Eiten Wertheimer.
The announcement came as the hospital celebrated its 75th year, the Globe of England reported. Wertheimer’s family founded Iscar Ltd., a precision toolmaker that has been a part of Berkshire since 2006.
Money managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler have done well during their two-plus years at Berkshire, Holly LaFon wrote for GuruFocus.Among their stock picks:
» DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. has gained 73 percent from the lowest average paid by Weschler since 2011 and 33 percent from the overall average. Berkshire now owns 9.75 percent of the outpatient dialysis center company.
» DirecTV is now 6.65 percent owned by Berkshire and has gained 40 percent from the average price Berkshire paid since it started buying in the third quarter of 2011.
» Visa and MasterCard are similar Berkshire holdings since mid-2011. Visa is up 145 percent from the average purchase price and MasterCard is up 212 percent.
» Verisign and Viacom have gained 53 and 60 percent, respectively, since Berkshire reportedly began purchases.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will donate $985 million worth of Facebook stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which lets donors choose the charities that receive their money.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Zuckerberg gave the same number of shares last year, when they were worth about half as much.
Zuckerberg has signed the Giving Pledge, a program originated by Buffett and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to encourage wealthy people to donate at least half their money to charities.
The Omaha World-Herald Co. is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.