Investors and fund managers putting capital to work in U.S. agri

The Fifth Annual Agri Investor Chicago Forum will bring together top institutional investors, family offices, fund and asset managers, regulators, advisors and producers for an editorially rich discussion of agriculture as an investment opportunity.

Attendees will network with agribusiness leaders and connect with key decision makers at the only US event exclusively focused on fundraising and investment in global agriculture.

2019 DISCUSSION TOPICS INCLUDE:

  • AgTech
  • Impact investing
  • Farmland investing
  • Water investing
  • How to get the greatest ROI from agri ESG
  • LP perspectives- all things allocation

2019 keynote speaker

Jamie Shen

Chief Investment Officer

PGIM Agriculture Investments

 

In this role, Jamie leads the equity team in managing the portfolio of agricultural properties. Prior to joining Prudential in 2017, Jamie was an Executive Vice President and Practice Leader of Alternative Investments Consulting with Callan Associates where she had overall responsibility for Real Assets Consulting services.

 

2019 brochure now available

Download the brochure to view:

  • Confirmed speakers

  • Agenda

  • Networking opportunities

  • Event highlights

  • and more! 

Special Rate for Agri Producers

The Forum welcomes top agriculture producers* to attend at a special rate to address the most pressing topics in agri across the supply chain. In 2019, meet with investors and fund managers to build powerful relationships and discuss investment opportunities from your unique and expert perspective.

*primary producer, i.e. individual owner/operator ‘behind the farm gate’, across sectors.

2019 agenda

Interested in speaking at the 2019 Forum?

Please contact Joan Moh at joan.m@peimedia.com or call +1 212 796 8322 ext 157

Day 1 Day 2
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Agenda

Day 1 - Tuesday 12th

General session
08:00 - 08:45

Registration and networking breakfast

08:45 - 09:00

PEI welcome & chairperson’s introduction

09:00 - 09:30

Keynote presentation

Jamie Shen

Keynote interviewee:
Jamie Shen, Chief Investment Officer, PGIM Agricultural Investments

A speaker photo for Jamie Shen

Jamie Shen

Chief Investment Officer, PGIM Agricultural Investments

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09:30 - 10:20

Agriculture’s place in the GP/LP nexus | Big picture institutional demand

Potential Interest rate changes, geopolitical disruption and fears about equity market resilience are all helping drive increasing LP attention to real assets.

  • Which other real assets present the clearest competition to Agri for space in LP portfolios?
  • How have investment structure responded to LP demand for collaboration and transparency.
  • Will investors entering the market now alter the balance between growth and wealth preservation in various Agri strategies?

Moderator:
Amy Hauke, Director, Private Wealth Advisor, BMO Private Bank

10:20 - 11:10

Where’s the beef? | PE’s role in the plant-based alternatives sector

Burger King’s adoption of the Impossible Burger is just the latest indication that demand for plant-based proteins will continue to see growth inspired by their appeal to a healthy and climate conscious consumers. This panel will further explore this demand and the driving forces behind it.

  • How has institutional capital defined its role within a market driven by early-stage ventures?
  • What, if any, impact will Beyond Meat’s stock performance or skepticism on health benefits have on institutional demand for exposure to the plant-based protein market?
  • Not all meatless alternatives are created equal; which are the burgeoning market’s leaders and laggers?
11:10 - 11:40

Networking break

11:40 - 12:30

AgTech | Exploring PE’s role in a very broad market

Pamela G. Marrone, PhD., Anna Rath, PhD., Ivan Saval, Ray Smith

After monitoring progress and investing selectively for much of the past decade, biologicals have emerged among the corners of the vast AgTech market best suited to institutional capital. As consumer demand for sustainability continues to grow, farmers’ need for new and better technologies will only drive demand for this sector further. We will take an in-depth look into:

  • What are the current or potential future regulations most likely to create market opportunities for investors exploring biologicals?
  • How are firms collaborating with strategic investors and other LPs interested in playing a more direct role?
  • Who is financing the research that will drive future rounds of innovation?

Speakers:
Pamela G. Marrone, PhD.,
Chief Executive Officer, Founder, Marrone Bio Innovations
Anna Rath, PhD., Chief Executive Officer, Vestaron
Ivan Saval,
Managing Director – Agribusiness & Food Investment Banking, National Securities Corp.
Ray Smith, Vice President, Investment and Business Strategy, AgLaunch

A speaker photo for Pamela G. Marrone, PhD.

Pamela G. Marrone, PhD.

Chief Executive Officer, Founder, Marrone Bio Innovations

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A speaker photo for Anna Rath, PhD.

Anna Rath, PhD.

President, Chief Executive Officer, Vestaron

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A speaker photo for Ivan Saval

Ivan Saval

Managing Director – Agribusiness & Food Investment Banking, National Securities Corp.

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A speaker photo for Ray Smith

Ray Smith

Vice President, Investment and Business Strategy, AgLaunch

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12:30 - 13:30

Networking lunch

13:30 - 14:20

Why now? | The real deals of the year

Jim Schultz

Private mangers’ efforts to exert greater control over food supply chains take place in a content of demographic, technological and political changes that frame their role in agriculture.  Our panel of leading Agri GPs will swap notes on the relevant deals of the year.  We will discuss:

  • Where have investors have proved most attractive to PE investors?
  • Where they have found the greatest inefficiencies with vertical integration, and much more?
  • What consumption trends seem most likely to create new opportunities for investors looking to stay ahead of demand?

 Speaker:
Jim Schultz,
Founder, Chairman, Open Prairie

A speaker photo for Jim Schultz

Jim Schultz

Founder, Chairman, Open Prairie

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Breakout session I
14:20 - 15:10

Track A – Private investor's role in the U.S. hemp supply chain

Viki Radden, Christopher Chapman

Legalization of industrial hemp in the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill cleared the way for a flurry of private investor activity. It remains unclear whether investment in industrial hemp could also bring more investors into booming market for CBD, an oil extract with no psychoactive properties. In this session we will explore:

  • Has the introduction of crop insurance for hemp made it likely the crop will be planted on institutionally owned farmland?
  • Have any institutional investors been tempted into jumping on the hemp/CBD bandwagon?
  • Can legal hemp lead to investment opportunities for the cannabis industry?

Moderator:
Viki Radden, Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Honor Harvest

Speakers:
Chris Chapman, Portfolio Manager, Amerra
Michael Gruber, Managing Partner, Salveo Capital
Eric London, Partner, Tress Capital
Shonda Warner, Managing Partners, Chess Ag

A speaker photo for Viki Radden

Viki Radden

Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Honor Harvest

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A speaker photo for Christopher Chapman

Christopher Chapman

Managing Director, Debt, Amerra Capital

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14:20 - 15:10

Track B – Timber | Challenges, opportunities and the market response

A variety of factors have conspired to frustrate timber managers’ efforts to meet return expectations for investment vehicles launched over the last decade. With the savviest mangers already working to redefine an asset class previously market by its tranquility, this session we explore:

  • What are the factors that have led to a slowdown in timber fundraising/activity?
  • How are managers looking to position timber within a broader societal focus on climate and ecosystem services?
  • Which regions and asset types are best positioned to benefit as focus shifts from wealth preservation to environmental preservation?

Speaker:
Robert Hagler, Associate Director, Investor Relations, New Forests

Breakout session II
15:10 - 16:00

Track A – Organics | The active corner of the big market

Craig Wichner

With conventional wisdom having finally ruled consumers’ move towards organic and healthy offerings as more of a structural change than passing fad, investors have started to position themselves to benefit from this movement.  Our experts will investigate:

  • How are farmland mangers going about increasing organic acreage under their management?
  • How are PE investors / banks / other lenders supporting the 3-year transition to organic?
  • How will the role of organic imports change as domestic production continues to rise?

Speakers:
Eric Jackson, Founder & Chairman, Pipeline Foods
Craig Wichner, Managing Partner at Farmland LP

A speaker photo for Craig Wichner

Craig Wichner

Managing Partner, Farmland LP

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15:10 - 16:00

Track B – Aquaculture | PE’s role in this key emerging protein market

Tom Amis

While it is clear farmed fish will play a greater role in meeting future protein demand, outside of regional pockets where the industry draws on a long-history, private equity’s role in the necessary build-out is only now coming into focus.  Issues that we will examine include:

  • What role can PE play in finding a balance between onshore / offshore approaches?
  • Which feed alternatives have attracted the most institutional investments and why?
  • What lessons and best practices can aquaculture glean from other livestock sectors?

Moderator:
Chris Janiec, Americas Editor, Agri Investor

Speaker:
Tom Amis, Senior Principal and Management Committee, Controlled Environment Foods, Equilibrium

A speaker photo for Tom Amis

Tom Amis

Senior Principal and Management Committee, Controlled Environment Foods, Equilibrium

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Afternoon sessions
16:00 - 16:20

Networking break

16:20 - 17:10

The LPs’ perspective | The agri investment process & fundamentals

Agriculture requires management of a variety of unique risks and the development of the asset class has occurred alongside broader evolutions in the LP/GP dynamic that have seen investors play an increasingly active role.

  • Has the debate surrounding where within an institutional portfolio Ag should be housed finally been settled? If so, where?
  • What are the biggest internal obstacles for an LP interested in adding Agriculture to its portfolio and how can they overcome these challenges?
  • What alternatives to closed-end fund structures most effectively ensure alignment on strategy, risk-management and returns?

Moderator:
Atish Babu, Vice President, Agriculture Capital Management

Speakers:
Sarah Gal,
Vice President, Callan
Sunny Ren, Director, Infrastructure & Real Assets, Stepstone Group

17:10 - 18:10

Networking reception

To all of you foodies, it’s your lucky day! Food is the driving force for Agri, so what better way to explore trends in food than to have a tasting of some of the most innovative (and delicious) foods taking the Ag world by storm. In addition to having our traditional post-event cocktails, make sure you save your appetite, and come and join us for some tasty treats. We will also be crowning a winner, so don’t get too full and make sure to vote for your favorite!

Agenda

Day 2 - Wednesday 13th

General session
08:30 - 09:15

Registration and networking breakfast

09:15 - 09:20

PEI welcome

09:20 - 10:10

The state of play in US farmland

Perry Vieth

The sharp drop in soybean exports to China has been only the most dramatic of a series of challenges facing farmland investors. Our speakers will weigh in on the following questions:

  • What risks / opportunities have been created by this spring’s unprecedented rains?
  • What role are private investors playing in reconfiguring the geography of crop production in the Americas?
  • How has /will the political noise surrounding agricultural trade impact strategy / fundraising prospects for farmland managers?

Moderator:
Bruce J. Sherrick, Research Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Professor & Director, TIAA-CREF Center for Farmland

Speakers:
John Goodreds,
Managing Director, AGR Partners
Daniel Kowalski, Vice President – Knowledge Exchange, CoBank
Suzanne Petrela, Managing Partner, Red Reef Partners
Perry Vieth, Founder & CEO, Ceres Partners

A speaker photo for Perry Vieth

Perry Vieth

Founder & CEO, Ceres Partners

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10:10 - 11:00

Ag & impact | Riding the regenerative wave

Lara Banks

Agriculture finds itself at the center of a global conversation about climate, inequality and capitalism that is reaching a fever pitch. In this session, we will discuss:

  • What are the new sources of capital looking at agriculture as part of their comprehensive approaches to climate and how best can mangers collaborate with them?
  • Which markets / sectors are best positioned to benefit from both traditional and impact-minded interest in agriculture?
  • To what degree are managers considering metrics to measure social impact as part of their “secret sauce” and which are most appropriate for ag?

Speakers:
Lara Banks, Managing Director, Natural Resources, Makena Capital Management
Alec Gorynski, Vice President, Community Development and Corporate Philanthropy, First National Bank

A speaker photo for Lara Banks

Lara Banks

Managing Director, Natural Resources, Makena Capital Management

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11:00 - 11:30

Networking break

11:30 - 12:20

Where to? | The next emerging markets for agri

Natalya Zhukova

Farmland investment remains concentrated largely in a handful of mostly developed country markets, though structural realities dictate the asset class’ future is likely more global.  Which leads us to ask: where to next? In this session we will explore:

  • What are the next markets best-positioned for an increase in real asset-style farmland investments and why?
  • What are some of the motivations for the influx of impact investors and their influence on the market for Agri related business in the developed world?
  • What are some of the new avenues of collaboration with DFIs and which ones have been the most successful?

Speaker:
Natalya Zhukova, Director, Agribusiness, EBRD

A speaker photo for Natalya Zhukova

Natalya Zhukova

Director, Agribusiness, EBRD

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12:20 - 13:10

Water – case study | Defining’s PE role & how to assess new opportunities

Noah Sabich, Quint Shambaugh

Already integral to any conversation about agriculture anywhere, water is increasingly viewed as its own subsector, albeit one characterized by uniquely potent risk. Key topics that we will address during our case study will include:

  • Which investor types are best suited to support forward looking water investments?
  • How important is it for private fund executives to secure seats on quasi-public bodies that adjudicate water issues?
  • What have been SGMA’s effects on U.S. farmland markets thus far and how will the regulations shape U.S. agricultural production over the long-term?

Co-Facilitators:
Matthew Diserio, President, Water Asset Management
Christopher Peacock, Chief Executive Officer, AQUAOSO
Noah Sabich, Director, Cimbria Capital
Quint Shambaugh, Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board, DIGS Associates

A speaker photo for Noah Sabich

Noah Sabich

Director, Founding Member, Cimbria Capital Management

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A speaker photo for Quint Shambaugh

Quint Shambaugh

Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board, DIGS Associates

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13:10 - 14:10

Networking luncheon and end of conference

2019 speakers

Interested in speaking at the 2019 Forum?

Please contact Joan Moh at joan.m@peimedia.com or call +1 212 796 8322 ext 157

Tom Amis

Senior Principal and Management Committee, Controlled Environment Foods, Equilibrium

Tom Amis is Senior Principal of the Controlled Environment Foods Fund, a proprietary Equilibrium Capital strategy focused on controlled environment food and agriculture. Equilibrium Capital innovates and manages sustainability-driven real asset inves… Read full bio

Lara Banks

Managing Director, Natural Resources, Makena Capital Management

Lara Banks is a Managing Director at Makena Capital Management, a global, multi-asset class investment manager providing a range of pooled investment vehicles with the objective of long-term, risk adjusted capital appreciation. She is responsible for… Read full bio

Christopher Chapman

Managing Director, Debt, Amerra Capital

Chris leverages more than 30 years of experience to provide the financing needed for agribusinesses to thrive in underserved markets. This experience includes building investment portfolios across the capital structure from scratch at Deutsche Bank,… Read full bio

Corey Getz

Chief Executive Officer, DIGS Associates

Mr. Getz has over 12 years of experience in the farming and agriculture industry. Mr. Getz studied at Indiana State University on a baseball scholarship. Early in his career, he pursued an opportunity with the world’s largest plastic pipe company whi… Read full bio

Alec Gorynski

Vice President, Community Development and Corporate Philanthropy, First National Bank

Alec Gorynski is a community development investor/funder, technical expert, and leader with over a decade of experience across private, nonprofit, and government sectors. Currently he serves as the Vice President of Community Development and Corporat… Read full bio

Michael Gruber

Managing Partner, Salveo Capital

Michael Gruber is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Salveo Capital, a private investment fund focused on the legalized cannabis sector. The Fund currently has 15 portfolio companies. Mr. Gruber had been active in the sector prior to the launch of… Read full bio

Brian V. Iversen

Founder and Managing Partner, Cimbria Capital

Mr. Iversen is the Founder and Managing Partner of Cimbria Capital. He is based in Houston, Texas. Prior to founding Cimbria Capital, Mr. Iversen became an acknowledged specialist in private equity and portfolio company management at Riverstone Holdi… Read full bio

Aaron Knewtson

Vice President - Food and Agribusiness, Compeer Financial

Aaron Knewtson joined Compeer Financial in 2004 and has provided both public and private financing. Aaron also represents Compeer’s leadership role in developing junior capital funds licensed under the USDA’s Rural Business Investment Program. Aaron’… Read full bio

Pamela G. Marrone, PhD.

Chief Executive Officer, Founder, Marrone Bio Innovations

Dr. Marrone is currently CEO/Founder of Marrone Bio Innovations (MBI), a company she started in 2006 to discover and develop bio-based products for pest management and plant health. On August 2, 2013, MBI listed its stock as MBII on NASDAQ. The compa… Read full bio

Viki Radden

Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Honor Harvest

Ms. Radden is a noteworthy innovator and passionate proponent of the integration of agriculture and technology. She is the founder and CEO of Honor Harvest (HH) LLC, a sustainable technology and agriculture consultancy. HH’s mission is the potent res… Read full bio

Anna Rath, PhD.

President, Chief Executive Officer, Vestaron

Anna joined Vestaron as President & CEO and as Board member in April 2018, bringing more than a decade of experience across multiple venture-backed ag-tech companies. Before that, Anna founded and led as CEO the company NexSteppe to develop and comme… Read full bio

Noah Sabich

Director, Founding Member, Cimbria Capital Management

Mr. Sabich is a Managing Director and a founding member of Cimbria Capital. He is based in Houston, Texas and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Prior to joining Cimbria Capital, Mr. Sabich was the Director of Sustainability and Statesmanship at Rasmussen Public… Read full bio

Ivan Saval

Managing Director – Agribusiness & Food Investment Banking, National Securities Corp.

Mr. Ivan Saval is responsible for providing capital markets and financial advisory services to the agribusiness and food related industries at National Securities Corporation, a full service investment bank. He was formerly a Managing Director with t… Read full bio

Jim Schultz

Founder, Chairman, Open Prairie

Jim Schultz is the founder of Open Prairie and is responsible for the management of four private equity funds with investments in innovative technologies spanning agriculture, medical devices, and information systems. Funds invested by Open Prairie h… Read full bio

Quint Shambaugh

Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board, DIGS Associates

Mr. Shambaugh has over 10 years of experience and is an acknowledged specialist in the farming and agriculture industry. He holds a degree in Business Management from Purdue University. Prior to co-founding DIGS Associates, Mr. Shambaugh founded a dr… Read full bio

Jamie Shen

Chief Investment Officer, PGIM Agricultural Investments

Jamie Shen is the Chief Investment Officer of PGIM Agricultural Investments. In this role, she leads the equity team in managing the portfolio of agricultural properties. Jamie is located in San Francisco. Prior to joining Prudential in 2017, Jamie w… Read full bio

Ray Smith

Vice President, Investment and Business Strategy, AgLaunch

Ray is Vice President of Strategy and Investment of AgLaunch Initiatives which is a platform for helping farmers and those that serve them engage in the next generation of agricultural opportunities through building a network of farmer-owned data, fu… Read full bio

Perry Vieth

Founder & CEO, Ceres Partners

Perry Vieth devotes his entire time towards managing the properties of Ceres Farms including financial, legal, accounting, hedging and investor relations. Formerly he served for ten years as CIO of Fixed Income & Currency at PanAgora Asset Management… Read full bio

Craig Wichner

Managing Partner, Farmland LP

Craig Wichner founded Farmland LP in 2009 and is responsible for day-to-day management, business strategy and all investment activity. Craig is a seasoned executive with nearly 30 years of experience building companies, such as Depotech, which develo… Read full bio

Natalya Zhukova

Director, Agribusiness, EBRD

Natalya Zhukova is the Director of the Agribusiness Sector department, at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The EBRD is an international financing institution owned by 69 countries, from 5 continents and 2 intergovernmental… Read full bio
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Sponsorship opportunities 2019

The Agri Investor Chicago Forum will offer a unique opportunity for organizations to raise their profile by meeting with the largest gathering of global agriculture capital across two days of sessions.

For exclusive sponsorship packages for 2019, contact Jimmy Kurtovic at jimmy.k@peimedia.com or call +1 646-795-3273.

Event venue

Hotel accommodations are available at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel (1 W Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601). We have arranged a special conference rate of $299.00 + tax. Rooms are limited and are on a first-come-first-served basis; early booking is strongly advised. Click HERE to directly book.

1 W Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601

Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel