(Natacha Pisarenko)

MetLife, Inc. (NYSE:MET) announced today that it originated through its Agricultural Investments Department, $2.8 billion in agricultural mortgage loans in 2011 which is even with its originations in 2010.

MetLife’s agricultural portfolio of over $13 billion, consisting of farm, ranch and food agribusinesses, make it one of the largest agricultural mortgage lenders in North America. It has been providing agricultural financing since 1917, making the business a of its overall insurance operations.

MetLife’s history in the agricultural mortgage industry, as well as in risk management and long-term investment, enables it seek out opportunities in both the U.S. and abroad ranging from the straight-forward to the intricate. Over the past year, for example, MetLife expanded its lending activities in Brazil and they plan on opening a regional office in Sao Paulo within the next year. MetLife is also looking into timber opportunities in both Australia and New Zealand.

“Our mortgage production demonstrates our expertise in providing borrowers with a reliable and trusted source of financing for the long-term growth and success of their business. At the same time, with the transactions we’ve completed this year, we have continued to further strengthen our high-quality portfolio of agricultural mortgages,” said Robert Merck, senior managing director and head of global agricultural investments for MetLife.