February 2014 Communication

Education and Research Committee

The mission of the Education and Research Contributions Program is to: "Provide education, research and other assistance to help farmers and other agricultural professionals remain competitive in a changing environment. In 2013, the program was involved in assisting the following programs: Iowa State University’s Ag Entrepreneurial Program, Cerro Gordo County’s Youth Entrepreneurial program “Be Your Best”, Practical Farmers of Iowa, and Healthy Harvest of North Iowa.

The criteria used by the program's review committee when considering applications are that the applicant must be focused on agriculture, entrepreneurship and business development; provide exposure for the Ag Ventures Alliance organization, and provide value to AgVA members.

A list of reports from previous applicants who received funding can be found HERE.
To be considered for serving on a future review committee, please contact Ag Ventures Alliance.

Membership Committee

We again welcome all the new members! To better serve all our members we have completed an extensive marketing and strategic plan. We are fine tuning the plan and will start implementing it in various phases some of which include communications, business development, investor opportunities, and education. Please feel free to contact AgVA with any ideas or concerns you have and invite your neighbors to be AgVA members and get all the benefits too.

Business Development Committee

The Business Development Committee (BDC) has been active in a number of areas this past year.

Specific investments in ag-related companies by Ag Ventures Alliance

After investigation by the BDC, Ag Ventures Alliance made a direct investment in one business in 2013. Our investment was in Agren which is a company that creates conservation planning software for use by both various levels of government and by private companies.

Specific investments in ag-related companies offered to members of Ag Ventures Alliance

Ag Ventures Alliance provided technical support for an offering by Once Innovations. Once Innovations provides unique, animal-specific lighting products for use world-wide in both animal and aquaculture facilities. The lighting products engineered and sold by Once Innovations are geared to improve productivity, survivability and lower energy costs in those facilities where they are installed.

Investigation of ag-related investments which could potentially be offered to our members

The BDC has investigated a number of businesses over the past year. These businesses were either in the development phase or were relatively young active businesses. Those businesses were involved in a wide range of activities such as:

  • A specialty equipment manufacturer whose automatically-controlled equipment would allow late season application of nitrogen in corn field.
  • A sugar and ethanol production company in south Florida which would use both sugar cane and sweet sorghum as its feedstocks.
  • A chemical processing start-up which has created a product made from soybeans which could have large scale application in both fire protection systems and fire-fighting uses.

Support of ag-related companies which may soon provide an investment offering for our members.

  • Golden Renewable Energy, LLC which is developing an independently-owned cogeneration facility at the ethanol plant in Mason City owned by Golden Grain Energy. This cogeneration facility will have a very high total energy efficiency allowing the Golden Grain Energy to lower the carbon footprint of the ethanol that they produce.
  • Ag Ventures Alliance is currently working on a project that would process corn stover to achieve a higher nutritional value for cattle feed. This project is still early in its development but could potentially have a large impact on farm income levels across the corn belt. We are very excited about the prospects for this endeavor.

One of the limits we have on creating or supporting new businesses is the number of individuals who are actively involved in each of these projects. Any members of Ag Ventures Alliance who want to participate in our work or simply find out more about our business development work are encouraged to contact either our president Mark Hanna (641- 590-1858) or our chair of the Business Development Committee Steve Jennerjohn (319-651-8339).

Staff

Jude Conway, Executive Director, jconway@agventuresalliance.com
Cathy Kaune, Administrative Assistant & Board Secretary, ckaune@agventuresalliance.com
Brad Saeger, Business Development Consultant, bsaeger@agventuresalliance.com
Rusty Schmidt, Business Development Consultant, rschmidt@agventuresalliance.com

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