Forage leads the $20MM Series B Investment
April 4, 2023 – Vytelle, a precision livestock company, has raised $20MM in Series B funding to accelerate genetic progress in cattle. With this new investment, Vytelle will continue to expand its global operations, while delivering the most accessible, reliable, and predictable reproductive technology available to customers today.
The investment was led by Forage Capital Partners, a Calgary based growth equity fund that invests across the entire food and agriculture value chain. New investor, Mountain Group Partners, joins current investors, Grosvenor Food and Ag Tech, Open Prairie, Fulcrum Global Capital, Serra Ventures, and KC Rise to complete the round.
Forage Capital Partner, Jim Taylor said, "Vytelle has proven their ability to scale and deliver consistent results for the benefit of cattle producers aiming to accelerate genetic progress around the world. We are impressed with Vytelle’s track record of growth and delivery and are excited about what the future will bring."
Vytelle's integrated technology platform combines Vytelle ADVANCE, a breakthrough in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology, with Vytelle SENSE, an animal performance data capture system, and Vytelle INSIGHT, an artificial intelligence based genetic analytics engine.
As the fastest growing advanced reproduction company, Vytelle is easily accessible to more than 50% of the US cow herd. Combining this footprint, with Vytelle’s curation of the world’s largest multibreed efficiency database, provides the infrastructure to impact bovine genetic progress rapidly. Progressive cattle producers can use the technology to multiply the impact of elite livestock productivity and profitability, sustainably delivering more protein with fewer inputs.
"We are delighted to have secured this new investment; this is indicative of strong market interest in our products and services. Our mission is clear, and we are grateful for the support of our investors who join us on our journey to ensure meat and milk are viable food choices for future generations." said Kerryann Kocher, CEO of Vytelle.
Vytelle is a precision livestock company reshaping how cattle producers worldwide optimize their herds. Through Vytelle’s integrated technology platform, generations of genetic gains can be made in just a few years. This allows producers to sustainably deliver more protein with fewer inputs, helping to ensure meat and milk are viable, competitive food choices for future generations. For more information about Vytelle, please visit www.vytelle.com.
About Forage Capital Partners
Forage Capital Partners is Canada’s most experienced team of Ag & Food investors, having managed over $500 million in commitments to the industry over the last 18 years. Forage Capital Ag & Food Business Solutions Fund works to provide its portfolio companies with the stability and flexibility they need to expand and adapt their business models during these challenging times. The fund will invest with creative business owners that are looking to capitalize on new and innovative opportunities. For more information on Forage Capital Partners, visit https://foragecapitalpartners.com.
About Mountain Group Partners
Mountain Group Partners is a Nashville-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage companies predominantly in the life sciences, animal health and disruptive technology sectors. The firm has invested in companies across animal health primarily in companion animals and technologies centered on improving protein production. Mountain Group takes a hands-on approach to investing based upon its deep operational experience and currently has over $300 million in assets under management. For more information on Mountain Group Partners, visit www.mtngp.com.
Ostara - $7.56 Awarded for USDA FPEP Grant
Independent Businesses Submitted More than 350 Applications for $3 Billion in Funding to Expand Domestic Fertilizer Capacity
A full list of offers announced today is available at www.rd.usda.gov/media/file/download/usda-rd-nr-fpep-chart03092023.pdf
ORLANDO, Fla., March 10, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the Department received $3 billion in applications from more than 350 independent businesses from 47 states and 2 territories for the first two rounds of a new grant program to add innovative domestic fertilizer production capacity.
USDA also announced the first $29 million in grant offers under the first round that focused on projects that can come online in the near term. The grants will help independent businesses increase production of American-made fertilizer, which will spur competition, give U.S. farmers more choices and fairer prices and reduce dependence on unreliable foreign sources like Russia and Belarus. Vilsack made the announcement at the 2023 Commodity Classic, the same event where he first unveiled the program a year earlier.
“I know that increased costs for fertilizer and other inputs have put a strain on farmers and cut into the bottom line. The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA understand the importance of taking on the root causes and need to invest in the agricultural supply chain here at home to create a resilient, secure and sustainable economy for the long haul,” Vilsack said. “By expanding the production of domestic fertilizer supplies, we can grow independent local businesses, bring production and jobs to rural communities and support fair prices for our farmers.”
The Biden-Harris Administration’s Fertilizer Production Expansion Program is part of a government-wide effort to promote competition in agricultural markets. The program supports fertilizer production that is independent, made-in-America, innovative, sustainable and farmer-focused.
Vilsack made the initial announcement to dedicate $250 million at the 2022 Commodity Classic, the same event where he is making the first awards a year later. From the start, it has been clear there is strong demand for the program and even before applications were being taken, President Biden directed USDA to increase the program to $500 million at a farm visit in Illinois in May 2022. This fall, demand for the program was immediately evident by the sheer number, range and diversity of applications. More than 350 applications came in from applicants of every size and business model, including cooperatives, Tribal communities, female-owned companies and public bodies. These applicants requested between $1 million and $100 million for projects across 47 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
In all, $3 billion in funding was requested for projects that could increase production immediately for Crop Years 2023 and 2024, as well as bolster long-term availability of U.S.-produced fertilizer. Projects were proposed for both fertilizers and nutrient alternatives, and represented different technologies, including composters, complex manufacturing, farm supply blenders and distributors.
In addition to increasing the supply of domestic fertilizer, the projects propose the creation or saving of hundreds of jobs, often in regions where they are most needed, including energy communities and those experiencing generational poverty. Additional details on the second round of applications will be released in the coming weeks as the reviews are completed.
First Award Offers
The first round of FPEP was focused on projects that could increase fertilizer capacity for the 2023 or the 2024 crop year, to prioritize projects with near-term impact. In January, a list of 21 potentially viable projects from the first round was released with a request for public comment. The $29 million announced by Secretary Vilsack will be offered to eight independent businesses in Alabama, Colorado, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio and Washington. The grants will help businesses modernize equipment, advance climate-smart practices and build production plants, among other activities.
In Sylacauga, Alabama, Pursell Agri-Tech LLC, a manufacturer of controlled-release fertilizer (CRF), is being offered $4.9 million to assist with working capital that will increase its inventory by 40,000 tons per year. Each ton of CRF effectively doubles the nutrient benefit of a ton of fertilizer, making this 40,000 ton increase of CRF equivalent to 80,000 tons of uncoated fertilizer per year. These funds could be put to use beginning in spring 2023 with farmers realizing the benefit of increased fertilizer availability almost immediately.
In Unionville, Missouri, Palindromes Inc. is being offered $4.9 million to expand the use of anaerobic digestion and renewable energy to produce, process and sell climate-smart fertilizer and associated products. The project will convert animal manure, meat processing, and food waste into dried organic fertilizers and soil amendments.
In Othello, Washington, Perfect Blend LLC is being offered $2.6 million to assist with expanding and increasing its ability to manufacture and process raw manure and fish waste into fertilizer by using its patented technology. This project will replace a stainless-steel dryer drum and construct a liquid fertilizer blending station and storage area on its facility.
USDA began accepting applications for FPEP in September 2022. The Department initially announced plans to make $250 million in grants available but quickly doubled the available funding to $500 million to address rising costs and spur competition.
Fertilizer prices more than doubled between 2021 and 2022 due to many factors, including price hikes caused by the war in Ukraine, a limited supply of the relevant minerals, high energy costs, high global demand and agricultural commodity prices, reliance on imports, and a lack of competition in the fertilizer industry.
FPEP is part of a broader effort to help producers boost production and address global food insecurity. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/fpep or www.farmers.gov/global-food-insecurity.
It is one of many ways the Biden-Harris Administration’s is promoting fair competition, innovation and resiliency across food and agriculture and combating the climate crisis by conserving and protecting our nation’s lands, biodiversity and natural resources, including our soil, air and water.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.
Ostara Secures US$70M in Funding to Scale North American Production of the Most Efficient, Plant Available, Waterway Friendly, Phosphate Fertilizer
Technology Company’s Phosphate Fertilizer Proven to be Plant Available All Season, Maximizing Crop Yield and Quality, Decreasing Climate Impacts, and Significantly Eliminating Contamination of Waterways
ST. LOUIS, MO (Oct. 28, 2022) – Ostara™ today announced it has raised US$70 million in Series C funding to increase production of its Crystal Green® line of highly efficient, plant-available, granular phosphate fertilizers for agriculture, specialty, and turf markets. Ostara will use the funding to complete construction of its St. Louis manufacturing facility, which will produce and ship this unique fertilizer to more North American farmers who are looking to maximize yield, embrace sustainability, reduce applied phosphate rates per acre and decrease costs. The Series C funding includes multiple new investors, including Carica Sustainable Investments, as well as existing investors Forage Capital Partners, the Cibus Funds, and Grosvenor Food and AgTech.
The announcement comes at a time when farmers, consumers, Ag retailers, and regulators are searching with growing urgency for solutions that drive yield and improve farm economics, while protecting global natural resources and increasing the resiliency of North America’s fertilizer supply chain.
“Growers are looking for more tools that increase the efficiency of applied nutrients, and reduce their required application rates, operational hassles, and environmental impacts. As a result, more and more growers and retailers are turning to Crystal Green’s innovative, highly efficient, phosphate fertilizers,” said Kerry Cebul, chief executive officer of Ostara. “Ostara is excited to rapidly increase our North American manufacturing base, enabling us to serve more U.S. and Canadian farmers.”
Ostara’s soon to be commissioned Crystal Green® manufacturing plant is strategically located in St. Louis, in the heart of midwestern agriculture. Once complete, the facility will produce 200,000 tons per year, providing product in time for the 2024 growing season, as well as dozens of new jobs to the St. Louis region. The facility represents a major step forward in the production of the next generation of highly efficient, plant-available, sustainable phosphate products.
“Phosphates are critical to the production of all crops, yet we know traditional fertilizers are inefficient, increasing their impact on climate and water. Ostara’s proven, innovative technology brings new, efficient phosphate tools to the farm-gate, which enable growers to produce great crops and protect our waterways by limiting runoff,” said Ham James, managing partner at Carica Sustainable Investments, a new investor in Ostara.
“The world’s agriculture market is facing unprecedented times,” said Jim Taylor, managing partner at Forage Capital. “From shortages in food production, to rising energy prices and significant declines in fertilizer availability, there has never been a greater need for ultra-efficient, sustainable fertilizers like Ostara’s. The Company not only has the ability to continue to scale world-class manufacturing capacity that can help farmers produce crops, reduce phosphates in waterways, and reduce greenhouse gasses, but it can also do so at a pace and size that will help address the challenges facing global fertilizer supply.”
Ostara’s Crystal Green® fertilizers are the first highly efficient phosphate fertilizers to release nutrients in response to plant demand. Crystal Green fertilizers are proven to increase yields, enhance soil health and significantly reduce phosphate tie-up, runoff and leaching, thereby improving food security while protecting local waterways. Crystal Green® fertilizers play a key role in the agriculture and turf & ornamental sectors through a network of established retailers and distributors in North America and Europe. To learn more about Ostara’s revolutionary technologies and fertilizer portfolio, please visit ostara.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
About Carica Sustainable Investments
Carica is a family office investment fund that invests in businesses that drive positive environmental and economic outcomes. We provide growth capital to help scale sustainable companies with proven business models. We realize this vision by partnering with entrepreneurs, business leaders, and companies addressing climate challenges by improving the way the world does business.
About Forage Capital Partners
Forage Capital Partners is Canada’s most experienced team of Ag & Food investors, having managed over $500 million in commitments to the industry over the last 18 years. Forage Capital Ag & Food Business Solutions Fund works to provide its portfolio companies with the stability and flexibility they need to expand and adapt their business models during these challenging times. The fund will invest with creative business owners that are looking to capitalize on new and innovative opportunities that will emerge as the Canadian economy recovers and prospers. For more information on Forage Capital Partners, visit www.foragecapitalpartners.com.