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Welcome to Cascadia’s Agribusiness Quarter in Review newsletter for Q1 2024 where we provide our perspectives on the capital markets, market trends, notable industry transactions, and more across the Production Agriculture, Ag Inputs, AgTech, and AgriFood Processing sub-sectors.

In this quarter’s addition, we cover The Private Equity Opportunity in Agriculture Inputs, Cascadia’s Agribusiness Year in Review, and Other Agribusiness Industry Updates.

If you have any questions, thoughts, or comments, we’d welcome the opportunity to discuss further. Please feel free to email us or subscribe to future Agribusiness Quarter in Reviews.


Topic of the Quarter — The Private Equity Opportunity in Agricultural Inputs

The agricultural input industry plays a vital role in supporting global food production by providing essential resources and materials to farmers. This sector encompasses a wide range of products and services, including seeds, crop nutrition, soil amendments, and crop protection. Growth in this category has primarily been driven by an ever-increasing need for innovative solutions by growers and significant investments in new technologies. The typically mature agricultural input industry has been recently reignited for its next cycle of growth. The time is now for the $70 billion agriculture inputs industry, and Cascadia expects significant platform opportunity and further industry consolidation in the near-term.

Recent technological advancements have significantly influenced the agricultural input industry, transforming traditional farming practices into more efficient and sustainable methods. Traditionally, research and development of new agricultural input technologies have been led by large strategic businesses. But in recent years, mid-sized and more nimble agricultural input businesses have taken the lead in developing and commercializing new technologies, while large strategic agriculture inputs businesses have opted to focus on acquiring and integrating leading agricultural input businesses.

This shift has created a unique window of opportunity for mid-sized agricultural businesses to build market-leading platforms and capture broader agricultural input market growth. These market-leading platforms along with the key principles listed below have created an opportunity for private equity investors to step into the agricultural input market.

The Parallels Between Food Ingredients and Agriculture Inputs:

We see significant parallels between the food ingredient sector and the agriculture input sector. Food ingredients has long been on the private equity radar, and for good reason. Investors looking for high margin, high growth companies, with a sticky customer base and product differentiation are attracted to the food ingredient sectors. Agriculture input companies possess many similar characteristics, making them ripe for additional private equity investment and interest. The agriculture input segment is benefiting from many similar tailwinds:

Proof is in the Numbers:

Many Private Equity Investors are Seeing Success in the Sector:

While private equity investment in the agriculture input sector remains nascent compared to food ingredients, below we spotlight a subset of investors that are experiencing success in the agriculture input category today:


Updates From Our Team — 2023 Year-in-Review

As the Agribusiness Team at Cascadia reflects on the accomplishments and experiences of 2023, we are grateful for the relationships and partnerships that helped define our journey. Over the past twenty-four months, our team has remained the most active Agribusiness team in the country.

Global Agribusiness Transactions Closed in 2022 & 2023*

*As of 12/31/2023
*League table names selected by Cascadia may not be all-inclusive; data derived from materials supplied by public sources, PitchBook,
 Merger Market, Capital IQ Market Data, Company Websites. which Cascadia believes to be accurate; however, no independent 
verification of such material has been made

In July of 2023, we also expanded our team and welcomed Owen Baldrica as a senior member of the team. Owen, who joined us from Lazard, brought valuable skills and has enhanced our capabilities, contributing to our shared success with our clients.

In December of 2023, we hosted nearly 200 executives, entrepreneurs, investors and strategics in Orange County, California at our annual Cascadia Connect Food, Bev & Ag conference. At the conference, Cascadia Managing Director, Scott Porter, had the opportunity to interview AgTech veteran, Dave Friedberg, the former founder of The Climate Corporation and current CEO of Ohalo. You can catch the interview by clicking on the photo below.

Looking forward to 2024, we are enthusiastic about building upon our achievements and tackling new challenges for our clients. As a team, we remain committed to being the middle market leader in Agribusiness M&A advisory, and we are confident that our disciplined focus on this subsector will lead to even greater success.


Notable Industry Transactions — Q4 2023

Paine Schwartz Partners Closes Acquisition of Costa Group

Costa’s shareholders voted in favor of accepting an offer of $3.20 per share from an experienced North American based consortium made up of Paine Schwartz Partners, Driscoll’s Inc. and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation. You can read more about it here

Ever Fresh Fruit Company is Recapitalized by Tilia Holdings

In Dec of 2023, Ever Fresh Fruit Company, a premier provider of custom formulated fruit and flavor ingredient solutions, was recapitalization by Tilia Holdings, a private investment firm focused exclusively on the food supply chain. You can read more about it here

OCI Global Sells Iowa Fertilizer Co. plant to Koch Industries

In Dec of 2023, OCI Global entered into a binding equity purchase agreement for the sale of 100% of its equity interests in Iowa Fertilizer Company LLC to Koch Ag & Energy Solutions for $3.6 billion. You can read more about it here


Quarter in a Chart: VC Activity in AgTech Returned to Normalized Levels in 2023

After reach all time highs in the zero-interest environment of 2020 – 2022, AgTech deal volumes and values returned to a normalized level in 2023. Investors are now valuing cash flowing technologies with proven ROIs over typical early-stage investments in unproven technologies.

As there is continued interest rate pressure on investor returns, Cascadia suspects we will see similar-to-decreasing activity in the AgTech market in 2024.


What We're Reading

John Deere, Corteva Partner to Deliver Customized Agronomic Solutions

This partnership combines the digital and onboard capabilities of John Deere with the agronomic expertise and analysis of Corteva

Read Here

Cascadia Connect Food, Beverage & Agribusiness Conference 2023 Recap

Cascadia hosted its annual Food, Beverage & Agribusiness Conference in Laguna Beach, California. The conference was headlined by a keynote fireside chat with David Friedberg

Read Here

While Still Above Average, Farm Income is Forecast to Fall This Year

U.S. farm income will tumble for the second year in a row from the record set in 2022, pulled down by lower commodity prices and rising production costs

Read Here

Evogene and their Subsidiaries Announce Partnerships with Syngenta and Bayer Crop Science

Shane Thomas breaks down who Evogene is and what their partnerships mean in his latest Upstream Ag article

Read Here


Catch us at these Conferences in Early 2024


Contact Us

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Welcome to Cascadia’s Agribusiness Quarter in Review newsletter for Q1 2024 where we provide our perspectives on the capital markets, market trends, notable industry transactions, and more across the Production Agriculture, Ag Inputs, AgTech, and AgriFood Processing sub-sectors.

In this quarter’s addition, we cover The Private Equity Opportunity in Agriculture Inputs, Cascadia’s Agribusiness Year in Review, and Other Agribusiness Industry Updates.

If you have any questions, thoughts, or comments, we’d welcome the opportunity to discuss further. Please feel free to email us or subscribe to future Agribusiness Quarter in Reviews.


Topic of the Quarter — The Private Equity Opportunity in Agricultural Inputs

The agricultural input industry plays a vital role in supporting global food production by providing essential resources and materials to farmers. This sector encompasses a wide range of products and services, including seeds, crop nutrition, soil amendments, and crop protection. Growth in this category has primarily been driven by an ever-increasing need for innovative solutions by growers and significant investments in new technologies. The typically mature agricultural input industry has been recently reignited for its next cycle of growth. The time is now for the $70 billion agriculture inputs industry, and Cascadia expects significant platform opportunity and further industry consolidation in the near-term.

Recent technological advancements have significantly influenced the agricultural input industry, transforming traditional farming practices into more efficient and sustainable methods. Traditionally, research and development of new agricultural input technologies have been led by large strategic businesses. But in recent years, mid-sized and more nimble agricultural input businesses have taken the lead in developing and commercializing new technologies, while large strategic agriculture inputs businesses have opted to focus on acquiring and integrating leading agricultural input businesses.

This shift has created a unique window of opportunity for mid-sized agricultural businesses to build market-leading platforms and capture broader agricultural input market growth. These market-leading platforms along with the key principles listed below have created an opportunity for private equity investors to step into the agricultural input market.

The Parallels Between Food Ingredients and Agriculture Inputs:

We see significant parallels between the food ingredient sector and the agriculture input sector. Food ingredients has long been on the private equity radar, and for good reason. Investors looking for high margin, high growth companies, with a sticky customer base and product differentiation are attracted to the food ingredient sectors. Agriculture input companies possess many similar characteristics, making them ripe for additional private equity investment and interest. The agriculture input segment is benefiting from many similar tailwinds:

Proof is in the Numbers:

Many Private Equity Investors are Seeing Success in the Sector:

While private equity investment in the agriculture input sector remains nascent compared to food ingredients, below we spotlight a subset of investors that are experiencing success in the agriculture input category today:


Updates From Our Team — 2023 Year-in-Review

As the Agribusiness Team at Cascadia reflects on the accomplishments and experiences of 2023, we are grateful for the relationships and partnerships that helped define our journey. Over the past twenty-four months, our team has remained the most active Agribusiness team in the country.

Global Agribusiness Transactions Closed in 2022 & 2023*

*As of 12/31/2023
*League table names selected by Cascadia may not be all-inclusive; data derived from materials supplied by public sources, PitchBook,
 Merger Market, Capital IQ Market Data, Company Websites. which Cascadia believes to be accurate; however, no independent 
verification of such material has been made

In July of 2023, we also expanded our team and welcomed Owen Baldrica as a senior member of the team. Owen, who joined us from Lazard, brought valuable skills and has enhanced our capabilities, contributing to our shared success with our clients.

In December of 2023, we hosted nearly 200 executives, entrepreneurs, investors and strategics in Orange County, California at our annual Cascadia Connect Food, Bev & Ag conference. At the conference, Cascadia Managing Director, Scott Porter, had the opportunity to interview AgTech veteran, Dave Friedberg, the former founder of The Climate Corporation and current CEO of Ohalo. You can catch the interview by clicking on the photo below.

Looking forward to 2024, we are enthusiastic about building upon our achievements and tackling new challenges for our clients. As a team, we remain committed to being the middle market leader in Agribusiness M&A advisory, and we are confident that our disciplined focus on this subsector will lead to even greater success.


Notable Industry Transactions — Q4 2023

Paine Schwartz Partners Closes Acquisition of Costa Group

Costa’s shareholders voted in favor of accepting an offer of $3.20 per share from an experienced North American based consortium made up of Paine Schwartz Partners, Driscoll’s Inc. and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation. You can read more about it here

Ever Fresh Fruit Company is Recapitalized by Tilia Holdings

In Dec of 2023, Ever Fresh Fruit Company, a premier provider of custom formulated fruit and flavor ingredient solutions, was recapitalization by Tilia Holdings, a private investment firm focused exclusively on the food supply chain. You can read more about it here

OCI Global Sells Iowa Fertilizer Co. plant to Koch Industries

In Dec of 2023, OCI Global entered into a binding equity purchase agreement for the sale of 100% of its equity interests in Iowa Fertilizer Company LLC to Koch Ag & Energy Solutions for $3.6 billion. You can read more about it here


Quarter in a Chart: VC Activity in AgTech Returned to Normalized Levels in 2023

After reach all time highs in the zero-interest environment of 2020 – 2022, AgTech deal volumes and values returned to a normalized level in 2023. Investors are now valuing cash flowing technologies with proven ROIs over typical early-stage investments in unproven technologies.

As there is continued interest rate pressure on investor returns, Cascadia suspects we will see similar-to-decreasing activity in the AgTech market in 2024.


What We're Reading

John Deere, Corteva Partner to Deliver Customized Agronomic Solutions

This partnership combines the digital and onboard capabilities of John Deere with the agronomic expertise and analysis of Corteva

Read Here

Cascadia Connect Food, Beverage & Agribusiness Conference 2023 Recap

Cascadia hosted its annual Food, Beverage & Agribusiness Conference in Laguna Beach, California. The conference was headlined by a keynote fireside chat with David Friedberg

Read Here

While Still Above Average, Farm Income is Forecast to Fall This Year

U.S. farm income will tumble for the second year in a row from the record set in 2022, pulled down by lower commodity prices and rising production costs

Read Here

Evogene and their Subsidiaries Announce Partnerships with Syngenta and Bayer Crop Science

Shane Thomas breaks down who Evogene is and what their partnerships mean in his latest Upstream Ag article

Read Here


Catch us at these Conferences in Early 2024


Contact Us

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Cascadia’s industry conference series presents the 3rd annual premier event for the food, beverage & agribusiness community, including growth companies, investors, entrepreneurs, academics, and technologists.

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Cascadia Capital is pleased to announce that it acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Burlington Capital Partners (“Burlington Capital”), a Chicago-based leading lower middle market private equity firm investing in family and founder-owned businesses, in its sale of Solo Foods, LLC (“Solo”) to Saco Foods Holdings, LLC (“Saco”).

Solo is a provider of branded fruit fillings and pastes for at-home bakery applications. Saco is a niche market-leading food products company that has acquired several specialty baking ingredients brands since partnering with Benford Capital Partners (“Benford Capital”), another Chicago-based private equity firm. Solo was divested from Burlington Capital’s portfolio company, Sokol & Company, a custom food ingredient manufacturer, who will continue to provide manufacturing services for the Solo brand following the acquisition.

Founded in 1925 and headquartered in Countryside, Illinois, Solo boasts a portfolio of premium quality fillings and toppings used in all types of bakery products. Solo’s products include cake & pastry fruit fillings, nut pastes, and marzipan, which are primarily sold in the center-store baking aisle in traditional supermarkets and mass retailers in the U.S.

“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the Solo sale to Saco,” said Tim Novak, Partner at Burlington Capital and Chairman of Sokol & Company. “The Cascadia team diligently understood our business, our go-forward strategy, and our desire to find a partner who could best drive sales, marketing, and distribution of a 100-year-old brand while still leveraging Sokol’s world-class manufacturing capabilities. A win-win outcome.”

“It was an honor to work with the team at Burlington Capital Partners and Solo and represent such a storied brand and leader in specialty bakery ingredients. We believe their partnership with Benford Capital and the Saco platform will create meaningful growth opportunities and value for all stakeholders. We continue to see great momentum in our Ingredients and Bakery practice and expect significant transaction activity ahead in 2024,” commented George Sent, Cascadia Managing Director.

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Cascadia Capital, an investment bank serving middle market clients globally, today announced it acted as the exclusive financial advisor to TLC Ingredients, Inc. (“TLC”), a distributor of food ingredients, industrial chemicals, and phenolic resins, in its acquisition by Shrieve Chemical Company (“Shrieve”), a portfolio company of Gemspring Capital and a leading, value-added chemicals distributor.

Founded in 2001, TLC has built a reputation as a premier distributor, distinguished by a dedication to operational excellence, food safety, and responsible distribution. With a class-leading facility in the Crest Hill, Illinois, the company is well-equipped to meet the evolving needs of customers with high service levels.

The acquisition expands Shrieve's presence in the Midwest and enhances the company’s ability to serve the attractive – and growing – food ingredients end-market. Additionally, it positions Shrieve strategically to leverage its existing product lines to serve TLC’s high-growth specialty industrial customers, who have relied on TLC as a trusted supplier of Durez phenolic resins for more than two decades.

"I am thrilled to welcome TLC Ingredients to the Shrieve Chemical family. This acquisition underscores our commitment to excellence and focus on long-term growth as we look to thoughtfully increase our presence and the industry-leading services we can provide across the country,” said George Fuller, CEO of Shrieve. “The TLC team has built an exceptional business with an industry-leading distribution facility, long-standing supplier relationships, and a broad product offering that serves several attractive global end-markets. TLC’s expertise, innovative approach, and customer focus aligns very well with our broader strategic vision. Together, we look forward to delivering enhanced value to our customers and supplier partners.”

“We are excited about the future as we partner with Shrieve and continue to expand, building on our reputation as one of the highest-quality food ingredient and chemical distributors in the United States," said Tommy Turiff, President of TLC Ingredients. "Our shared commitment to excellence and dedication to our customers make this an ideal partnership. We look forward to bringing our combined expertise and capabilities to the market and continuing to serve our customers with enhanced resources and innovation."

“TLC Ingredients distributes a diversified offering of chemicals to the food, pharma, care, and industrials markets, elevating the standard for best-in-class service and expertise. We are pleased to have helped the TLC team find a partner that can support their continued growth,” said Naaman Heyman, Cascadia Managing Director. “This transaction underscores the long-term tailwinds in the chemical distribution industry and we are excited to play a growing role in the continued evolution of the sector.”

“We are incredibly proud of what our team has built since 2001 and are excited and optimistic to be a part of its next stage of growth together with Shrieve,” added Mr. Turriff. “Cascadia played a crucial role as our advisor, skillfully navigating us through the process and offering outstanding guidance throughout the transaction.”    

“It was a great pleasure to work with Tommy, Pete, and the rest of the TLC team. We continue to see great momentum in the ingredient and ingredient distribution sectors, and Cascadia is honored to play a meaningful role in reshaping the space through transformational mergers and acquisitions,” said George Sent, Cascadia Managing Director.

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Cascadia Capital, an investment bank serving middle market clients globally, today announced it acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Ever Fresh Fruit Company (“Ever Fresh” or “Company”), a premier provider of custom formulated fruit and flavor ingredient solutions that improve the sensory attributes of food and beverage products, in its majority recapitalization by Tilia Holdings (“Tilia”), a Chicago-based private investment firm focused exclusively on the food supply chain. The McKnight Family, who founded and have owned Ever Fresh for over 55 years, will remain significant shareholders and continue to serve on the Board of the Company. Ever Fresh CEO Gene Mayer will continue to lead the Company going forward.

Ever Fresh is a processor and developer of formulated fruit and sensory ingredients to the dairy, dairy alternatives, bakery, and beverage end-markets. The Company’s diverse portfolio of high quality, custom ingredient applications provide the flavor, texture, and color elements to food and beverage products, which have established Ever Fresh as an integral and trusted product development and innovation partner. Located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Ever Fresh was founded in 1968 by Harrison McKnight as a fruit processor. Under the stewardship of the second-generation since 2000, siblings Kurt McKnight and LeAnn Miller grew and expanded the Company’s focus into formulated fruit and flavor ingredients in partnership with Gene Mayer, who joined Ever Fresh in 1996 and has served as its CEO since 2016.

“Our family has dedicated the last 55 years to growing Ever Fresh, and we are incredibly proud of what our team has accomplished. We are very pleased with Cascadia’s ability to understand our business and help identify the right partner to expand and grow it. We are delighted to partner with the Tilia team to grow and advance our mission of providing fruit and flavor elements to our customers through unmatched service, quality, and innovation,” noted Mrs. Miller and Mr. McKnight.

“Tilia shares our vision for growth and was the ideal partner for Ever Fresh as we look to stay at the forefront of our industry,” adds Mr. Mayer. “Tilia’s expertise in food, organizational development capabilities, orientation towards sustainable growth, and most importantly, the values we both share will help enhance our capabilities in support of Ever Fresh’s continued growth and expansion. Our entire team is enthusiastic to begin the next chapter of our story with Tilia.”

“Ever Fresh has become a leader in the formulated ingredients category, and we believe their partnership with Tilia will create tremendous opportunity to further solidify their position in formulated ingredients,” commented Scott Porter, Cascadia Managing Director.

“It is an honor to work with the team at Ever Fresh. We continue to see great momentum in our Ingredients practice, and we look forward to all of the exciting opportunities ahead in the sector,” added George Sent, Cascadia Managing Director.

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Cascadia Capital, an investment bank serving middle market clients globally, is pleased to announce our client Nor-Cal Beverage, one of the largest co-packers of teas, isotonics, chilled juices, waters, and energy drinks west of the Mississippi, intends to be acquired by Manna Beverages & Ventures, an affiliate of Manna Capital Partners which specializes in the beverage industry (view company's announcement).

The acquisition will allow Manna Beverages & Ventures to expand Nor-Cal Beverage Company’s existing resources, tools, and opportunities to continue delivering the highest quality of beverages for world-class brand owners. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The arrangement is subject to normal and customary approvals.

“We are pleased to soon see the positive impact that this impending transaction will have on our employees and customers,” said Shannon Deary-Bell, Nor-Cal Beverage Company President and CEO. “We will continue providing our brands with the best products while expanding opportunity, capability, and resources for our employees and customers. We have been working with Cascadia to prepare for this and their understanding of the contract manufacturing landscape proved invaluable, I am proud to see how this acquisition will change the trajectory of this business.”

“We are excited to add the Nor-Cal Beverage Company business to the Manna Beverages & Ventures portfolio,” said Derrick Register, MB&V President. “By continuing to serve as the solution for major brands, we will capitalize on what Nor-Cal Beverage Company built while opening doors for expanded opportunity.”

“It has been an honor to advise this multi-generation family business stalwart through this pivotal moment in their history.” said Erik Einwalter, Managing Director at Cascadia Capital “The team at Manna brings tremendous experience to the relationship which will continue to propel the business forward.”

Cascadia is serving as the exclusive advisor to Nor-Cal Beverage in this pending transaction.


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Cascadia Capital, an investment bank serving middle market clients globally, today announced it acted as the financial advisor to Graham Partners, Inc., a leading private equity firm based in Philadelphia, in its acquisition of Commercial Bakeries Corporation (“CBC”).

Headquartered in Ontario, Toronto, CBC is a renowned formulator and manufacturer of private label and co-manufactured cookies and biscuits that sells its products to blue-chip retail and CPG customers. The Company provides clients with customized services to meet each customer’s specific formulation requirements including Sandwich Cremes, Wire-Cut, Rotary, and many more, which are available as Conventional, Organic, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO Project Verified, and other certain product specifications.

Graham Partners is focused on investing in consumer and food technology companies that bring innovation to advanced manufacturing and disrupt traditional end markets, with emphasis on lending its own extensive operating resources and industrial expertise. Through the acquisition of CBC, Graham Partners aims to leverage CBC’s strong position in the co-manufacturing and private label bakery industry for further expansion and value creation. CBC provides Graham Partners with a unique opportunity to invest in a company with strong growth across five continents and long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with customers.

“We’re proud to be associated with this important transaction in the bakery sector,” noted George Sent, Cascadia Capital Managing Director. “This continues our focus on playing a meaningful role in the bakery co-manufacturing space within the Food industry.”

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Cascadia Capital, an investment bank serving middle market clients globally, today announced its client, PNC Riverarch Capital (“Riverarch”), together with its portfolio company Chef Merito Seasonings (“Chef Merito”), has completed an investment in La Fiesta Food Products (“La Fiesta”), a leading provider of spices, chiles, herbs, and related products within the Hispanic foods market.

Riverarch is a middle-market private equity firm which invests in privately held companies in North America and Europe. It’s portfolio company La Fiesta is one of the leading providers of spices & herbs, dried chili pods, corn husks, and other specialty products for Latin cuisine, serving customers nationwide. Headquartered in La Mirada, CA, La Fiesta prides itself on offering its customers best-in-class service built on its proprietary direct store delivery (“DSD”) network that enables it to provide hundreds of SKUs with unmatched consistency and reliability.

“We’re thrilled to announce that Chef Merito and La Fiesta have merged to create the nation’s premier provider of Hispanic seasonings, spices, herbs, marinades, and other specialty products,” commented Margaret Crow, CEO of Chef Merito.

“Our partnership with Chef Merito will allow us to offer unparalleled service, expanded geographic reach, and an increasingly diverse product selection,” added Joe Nibali, Owner of La Fiesta. “We’re excited to join forces with the Chef Merito and Riverarch teams to unlock our next chapter of growth.”

“La Fiesta’s best-in-class track record of customer service and wide breadth of product offerings are highly complementary to Chef Merito’s unmatched flavor profile and established brand positioning” said Andrew Barza, Principal with Riverarch. Brian Blake, Director with Riverarch, added, “Both management teams have done an excellent job of building strong businesses within the growing Hispanic foods market, and we look forward to joining forces to create a highly compelling platform for future growth.”

“Our unwavering confidence in the branded, ethnic seasoning category continues to grow, driven by the remarkable opportunities it presents,” added George Sent, Managing Director at Cascadia. “We are genuinely excited to be a part of this union of leading Hispanic brands, and we wholeheartedly embrace the potential it brings.”


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Cascadia Capital, an investment bank serving middle market clients globally, today announced it acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Tillridge Global Agribusiness Partners (“Tillridge”) on its exit of portfolio company Novus Ag, an innovative ag retail platform, to Aqua Capital, an agriculture-focused private equity investor based in Brazil.

Following rapid consolidation in the ag retail industry, the current market structure has failed to satisfy the needs of the industry's two primary stakeholders: local store operators and farmers. Novus Ag developed a unique platform which attracts the industry's best talent, while providing farmers with an optimal mix of local expertise and national scale. Novus Ag has integrated 30+ owner-operators across 50+ retail locations to its network, serving farmers across the United States with crop protection, fertilizer, and seed treatment products coupled with application and agronomy services.

“I am honored to represent Novus Ag and Tillridge on this transaction,” added Scott Porter, Cascadia Capital Managing Director. “Novus Ag is a first-of-its-kind platform in agriculture with an incredible growth opportunity and led by a highly experienced management team. The Agriculture Input sector broadly continues to be a core area of focus for our practice.”

“The broader retail environment serving rural and agricultural communities throughout the United States continues to evolve and Novus Ag’s entrepreneurial owner-operator model is a clear example of the positive economic impact and success that this industry has on the communities it serves,” said James Cartales, Cascadia Managing Director.


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Cascadia Capital, one of the nation's most active independent middle-market investment banks, announced today that Owen Baldrica has joined the firm as a Director in the Food, Beverage & Agribusiness group. Mr. Baldrica will focus on providing M&A and corporate finance advisory to Cascadia’s clients across the Food & Agribusiness landscape, specifically Agribusiness & AgTech, Food Processors & Ingredients, Food Distribution, and Sports Nutrition sectors.

With a decade of investment banking experience, Mr. Baldrica has advised clients, both domestically and internationally, on successful transactions totaling over $2.5 billion in value. He has worked with both founder- and family-owned businesses, as well as sponsor-backed companies and developed a deep understanding of how these businesses transact, helping to drive optimal outcomes for clients.

“We are very excited to welcome Owen to the Cascadia team and extend Cascadia’s industry leading position in Food, Beverage & Agribusiness,” said Michael Butler, Cascadia Chairman & CEO. “Food, Beverage & Agribusiness remains a core growth area for Cascadia and Owen’s experience will allow us to even better serve our clients through his deep industry relationships and expertise.”

Cascadia Capital, one of the nation's most active independent middle-market investment banks, announced today that Owen Baldrica has joined the firm as a Director in the Food, Beverage & Agribusiness group. Mr. Baldrica will focus on providing M&A and corporate finance advisory to Cascadia’s clients across the Food & Agribusiness landscape, specifically Agribusiness & AgTech, Food Processors & Ingredients, Food Distribution, and Sports Nutrition sectors.

Prior to joining Cascadia, Mr. Baldrica was a part of Lazard’s Consumer, Food and Retail M&A practice, where he advised clients on sell-side and buy-side transaction and strategic advisory engagements. Before Lazard, he was with Wells Fargo Bank serving large food and agribusiness clients.

“I am thrilled and honored to be joining Cascadia as part of the Food, Beverage & Agribusiness practice,” added Mr. Baldrica. “The firm has an outstanding reputation for helping founder- and sponsor-owned businesses achieve their strategic goals and objectives, and I look forward to supporting and expanding our efforts.”

To connect with Mr. Baldrica, please reach out to OBaldrica@cascadiacapital.com.

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Owen Baldrica is a Director in Cascadia Capital’s Food, Beverage and Ag practice group. Throughout his career, he has completed transactions totaling over $2.5B in value.

Prior to Cascadia Capital, Owen was part of Lazard’s Consumer, Food, and Retail M&A practice where he advised clients on sell-side, buy-side, and strategic advisory assignments.

Previously, Owen was at Wells Fargo Bank, covering large food and agribusiness companies throughout California. He is registered with FINRA, holding Series 79 and 63 licenses.

Owen holds a degree from Biola University in La Mirada, California.

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Cascadia’s industry conference series presents the 2nd annual premier event for the food, beverage & agribusiness community, including growth companies, investors, entrepreneurs, academics, and technologists.

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Welcome to Cascadia’s Agribusiness Quarter in Review newsletter for Q1 2024 where we provide our perspectives on the capital markets, market trends, notable industry transactions, and more across the Production Agriculture, Ag Inputs, AgTech, and AgriFood Processing sub-sectors.

In this quarter’s addition, we cover The Private Equity Opportunity in Agriculture Inputs, Cascadia’s Agribusiness Year in Review, and Other Agribusiness Industry Updates.

If you have any questions, thoughts, or comments, we’d welcome the opportunity to discuss further. Please feel free to email us or subscribe to future Agribusiness Quarter in Reviews.


Topic of the Quarter — The Private Equity Opportunity in Agricultural Inputs

The agricultural input industry plays a vital role in supporting global food production by providing essential resources and materials to farmers. This sector encompasses a wide range of products and services, including seeds, crop nutrition, soil amendments, and crop protection. Growth in this category has primarily been driven by an ever-increasing need for innovative solutions by growers and significant investments in new technologies. The typically mature agricultural input industry has been recently reignited for its next cycle of growth. The time is now for the $70 billion agriculture inputs industry, and Cascadia expects significant platform opportunity and further industry consolidation in the near-term.

Recent technological advancements have significantly influenced the agricultural input industry, transforming traditional farming practices into more efficient and sustainable methods. Traditionally, research and development of new agricultural input technologies have been led by large strategic businesses. But in recent years, mid-sized and more nimble agricultural input businesses have taken the lead in developing and commercializing new technologies, while large strategic agriculture inputs businesses have opted to focus on acquiring and integrating leading agricultural input businesses.

This shift has created a unique window of opportunity for mid-sized agricultural businesses to build market-leading platforms and capture broader agricultural input market growth. These market-leading platforms along with the key principles listed below have created an opportunity for private equity investors to step into the agricultural input market.

The Parallels Between Food Ingredients and Agriculture Inputs:

We see significant parallels between the food ingredient sector and the agriculture input sector. Food ingredients has long been on the private equity radar, and for good reason. Investors looking for high margin, high growth companies, with a sticky customer base and product differentiation are attracted to the food ingredient sectors. Agriculture input companies possess many similar characteristics, making them ripe for additional private equity investment and interest. The agriculture input segment is benefiting from many similar tailwinds:

Proof is in the Numbers:

Many Private Equity Investors are Seeing Success in the Sector:

While private equity investment in the agriculture input sector remains nascent compared to food ingredients, below we spotlight a subset of investors that are experiencing success in the agriculture input category today:


Updates From Our Team — 2023 Year-in-Review

As the Agribusiness Team at Cascadia reflects on the accomplishments and experiences of 2023, we are grateful for the relationships and partnerships that helped define our journey. Over the past twenty-four months, our team has remained the most active Agribusiness team in the country.

Global Agribusiness Transactions Closed in 2022 & 2023*

*As of 12/31/2023
*League table names selected by Cascadia may not be all-inclusive; data derived from materials supplied by public sources, PitchBook,
 Merger Market, Capital IQ Market Data, Company Websites. which Cascadia believes to be accurate; however, no independent 
verification of such material has been made

In July of 2023, we also expanded our team and welcomed Owen Baldrica as a senior member of the team. Owen, who joined us from Lazard, brought valuable skills and has enhanced our capabilities, contributing to our shared success with our clients.

In December of 2023, we hosted nearly 200 executives, entrepreneurs, investors and strategics in Orange County, California at our annual Cascadia Connect Food, Bev & Ag conference. At the conference, Cascadia Managing Director, Scott Porter, had the opportunity to interview AgTech veteran, Dave Friedberg, the former founder of The Climate Corporation and current CEO of Ohalo. You can catch the interview by clicking on the photo below.

Looking forward to 2024, we are enthusiastic about building upon our achievements and tackling new challenges for our clients. As a team, we remain committed to being the middle market leader in Agribusiness M&A advisory, and we are confident that our disciplined focus on this subsector will lead to even greater success.


Notable Industry Transactions — Q4 2023

Paine Schwartz Partners Closes Acquisition of Costa Group

Costa’s shareholders voted in favor of accepting an offer of $3.20 per share from an experienced North American based consortium made up of Paine Schwartz Partners, Driscoll’s Inc. and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation. You can read more about it here

Ever Fresh Fruit Company is Recapitalized by Tilia Holdings

In Dec of 2023, Ever Fresh Fruit Company, a premier provider of custom formulated fruit and flavor ingredient solutions, was recapitalization by Tilia Holdings, a private investment firm focused exclusively on the food supply chain. You can read more about it here

OCI Global Sells Iowa Fertilizer Co. plant to Koch Industries

In Dec of 2023, OCI Global entered into a binding equity purchase agreement for the sale of 100% of its equity interests in Iowa Fertilizer Company LLC to Koch Ag & Energy Solutions for $3.6 billion. You can read more about it here


Quarter in a Chart: VC Activity in AgTech Returned to Normalized Levels in 2023

After reach all time highs in the zero-interest environment of 2020 – 2022, AgTech deal volumes and values returned to a normalized level in 2023. Investors are now valuing cash flowing technologies with proven ROIs over typical early-stage investments in unproven technologies.

As there is continued interest rate pressure on investor returns, Cascadia suspects we will see similar-to-decreasing activity in the AgTech market in 2024.


What We're Reading

John Deere, Corteva Partner to Deliver Customized Agronomic Solutions

This partnership combines the digital and onboard capabilities of John Deere with the agronomic expertise and analysis of Corteva

Read Here

Cascadia Connect Food, Beverage & Agribusiness Conference 2023 Recap

Cascadia hosted its annual Food, Beverage & Agribusiness Conference in Laguna Beach, California. The conference was headlined by a keynote fireside chat with David Friedberg

Read Here

While Still Above Average, Farm Income is Forecast to Fall This Year

U.S. farm income will tumble for the second year in a row from the record set in 2022, pulled down by lower commodity prices and rising production costs

Read Here

Evogene and their Subsidiaries Announce Partnerships with Syngenta and Bayer Crop Science

Shane Thomas breaks down who Evogene is and what their partnerships mean in his latest Upstream Ag article

Read Here


Catch us at these Conferences in Early 2024


Contact Us

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