Ag Industry Brief: Farm Income Up for 1st Time Since 2013, Innophos $125m M&A, Arable Capital Raises $300m, more

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Farm Income Up For the First Time Since 2013

Net income for US farmers is predicted to increase this year for the first time in four years, according to the USDA. Crops, livestock, and dairy are set to see a 3.1% bump which the USDA attributes to sales of grain inventory and increased livestock and milk revenue. The department also predicts a 2.3% rise in farmland value, though debt-to-equity ratios for farms is unlikely to change. Read more here.

Innophos Acquires Novel Ingredients for $125m

Specialty ingredient producer Innophos (IPHS) has agreed to acquire fellow New Jersey-based provider of dietary supplement ingredients, Novel Ingredients, which is primarily owned by GenNx360 Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm. The $125 million deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017. Innophos reported $725 million in revenue for 2016 and has 1,400 employees worldwide. The company said that acquisition would “more closely align Innophos with important consumer megatrends such as health and wellness, energized aging, and clean labels.” Read more here.

Arable Capital Partners Raises $300m Food & Ag PE Fund

Arable Capital Partners has closed a $300 million food and agriculture private equity fund. The fund will take a long-term view, targeting 15-year investments focused on operating businesses throughout the agriculture supply chain. “Our focus is on vertically integrated mid-stream agribusinesses, not Ag. tech, or start-ups. We’ll invest in farmland only if it’s part of an integrated operating business,” said vice president Chris Brenes to AgFunderNews. Read more here.

Indigo Ag Biological Boosts Yield For Winter Wheat Trial Shows

Indigo Ag released preliminary data from its microbial seed treatment for wheat, Indigo Wheat, which was launched in the fall of 2016 on approximately 20,000 acres across multiple states and was recently harvested. According to the company, the seed treatment increases the productivity of wheat plants by improving the plant’s tolerance to water stress. Data collected to date show that wheat grown from seeds coated with Indigo microbes produced an 8.3% average yield increase when compared to wheat grown from seeds coated only with a standard chemical package. Regions with yields below 60 bushels per acre experienced greater productivity improvements, with yield increases averaging 15.7%, likely due to greater water stress in those areas, says the company. Read more here.

Alltech Partners with Russian Manufacturer

Irish animal nutrition firm Alltech has entered into a joint partnership with Danish farm supply company DLG Group to expand its presence in the Russian market. Though a spokesman said that the companies are not yet releasing details because the deal is not final, Farm Ireland reports that the partnership involves a 50/50 joint venture in Orenburg, south of the Ural Mountains, in Russia. In the same report, Alltech President Pearse Lyons confirmed that new markets are a priority for the company. Read more here.

Dow and DuPont Make it Official

After a long road from the initial merger announcement by the chemical giants in December of 2015, Dow and DuPont have finalized their merger, forming DowDuPont. The individual stocks stopped trading at the close of business August 31 and will now trade under “DWDP.” DowDuPont will take Dow’s place in the Dow Jones Industrial Average after the $130 billion merger. “The true value of this merger lies in the intended creation of three industry powerhouses that will define their markets,” Andrew Liveris, executive chairman of DowDuPont, said in a statement on Friday. According to Reuters, the new company is expected to divide into three independent, publicly traded units in the future.

New Zealand’s Tech Futures Lab Offers Agritech Masters Concentration

New Zealand-based business and tech accelerator and “education disruptor” in the STEM space Tech Futures Lab is partnering with agricultural innovation hub Lincoln Hub to offer an agritech focus for its Masters of Applied Practice – Technological Futures program. “Agritech is a hugely important sector for New Zealand, and while there is innovation happening around the country there are many individuals and business leaders who want to understand more or develop a specific project but do not have access to the expertise and knowledge. The agritech focus of our Masters has been designed in partnership with Lincoln Hub to bridge that gap,” said Sarah Hindle, Tech Futures Lab General Manager. Read more here.

USDA Invests In Specialty Crop Research

The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced $35 million worth of grants to 12 technology research initiatives. The research is meant to address challenges in the production, distribution and processing, and marketing of specialty crops, which include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, and horticulture and nursery crops. Read more here.

Other News That’s Fit To Chew

  • Australian scientists have used stem cells to create several avocado trees from one plant, creating the potential to increase the number of avocado plants in the industry 500 times, possibly ending price surges and supply shortages, according to Newsweek.
  • According to a new study, severe allergic reactions to food are on the rise, growing 37% in the last 10 years, reports Food Business News.
  • The closing of Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods lead the internet giant to lower prices on many staples on the grocer’s shelves and bring some products onto the retail site. The Chicago Tribune Reacts here.
  • Rural communities have been demanding scientific research into climate change since the 1950s, reports The Washington Post.
  • Food delivery by drone is real in Iceland, says Fast Company.
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