GROWMARK and CHS Form Cooperative Ventures
Two of the largest farmer owned cooperatives, CHS and GROWMARK, recently announced the formation of Cooperative Ventures, a new ag capital fund aimed at investing in technology startups. GROWMARK innovation lead Brad Drake says they see their farmer-ownership as an asset for determining which investments will gain market traction.
Drake… “We have the unique ability in the interest of our own farmer owners to create that feedback loop. To create this process by which we vet and validate that these technologies are beneficial, that they're furthering profitability at the farm gate and creating sustainable practices. You know, we've been doing this for quite some time in a form we call AgValidity. And this is really just the next step of evolution of our AgValidity process, which is now we need to get a mechanism, not just testing the technology and the commercial prospects of that technology, but also being able to take a stake in that technology and really help it from a financial standpoint as well.”
The AgValidity program has been applying rigorous on-farm testing to ag technologies, and now those farmers can benefit from their success via their cooperative.
Drake… “We're continuing to call, you know, the 100,000 farmers that we collectively serve, the millions of acres we serve as the test laboratory for these startup technologies.”