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ImpactAssets 50: A Global Landscape of Impact Investment Fund Managers
The ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50) is the first open-source, publicly published database of experienced private debt and equity impact investment fund managers.
http://www.impactassets.org/impactassets-50

ImpactAssets 50

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

Iroquois Valley Farms, LLC

Total Assets Under Management: $10 – 25MM
Asset Class: Private Debt - Absolute Return / Notes, Real Estate, Private Equity
Geographic Focus:
Impact Investment Focus:
Natural Resources and Conservation
Sustainable Agriculture
Global Health

Firm Overview

Iroquois Valley Farms, LLC (2007) is a food and farmland Company acquiring and leasing sustainable local and organic farmland in the USA. Offering a unique opportunity to benefit from the growing business of healthy food and farmland, the focus for acquisitions is the small and middle size family farmer. Iroquois Valley Farms has a portfolio of 2,815 sustainably farmed acres. 1,186 acres are certified organic and 1,629 acres are in transition to organic. To date, the Company has purchased over $10 million dollars of farmland totaling 12 (13, including pending) farms for its Young Farmer Land Access Program and is actively pursuing more local and diversified foods content. Operated by a seven member Board, selected by Members (investors), the Company has no termination date. Rather, it is structured to support multi-generational land tenure and an ongoing liquid market for membership interests (stock). The goal of this farmland company is to continually renew farm leases to small and mid-size family farmers who care about the health of our food and the soils they farm, while providing superior asset class returns to investors.
Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: 5 – 10 years
Total Assets Under Management:
$10 – 25MM
Total Number of Investors: More than 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: Less than 25%
Investment Thesis:
The Company has established a corporate structure for farmland ownership that is indefinitely scalable and provides multi-generational impact in the field of sustainable agriculture. The Company buys farmland and provides indefinitely renewable leases with an initial five year term. The leases generally include a minimum base rent plus a variable income component based on total farm revenues. This innovative lease structure allows the Company to participate directly in the growing business of producing healthy foods while giving investors full appreciation of the underlying real asset. The farmers view this lease as favorable, as the base rent is below traditional all cash rents, thus providing downside protection. Over time, the valuation of the Company stock will reflect the greater income potential of its local and organic operations, versus existing valuations based on comparable sales of conventional farms. Over the first seven years of operations, total returns reflect a 2.5x multiple on capital invested.

Investment Example

Kentucky Purchase: Healing Ground Farm in Rockcastle County, KY (6-22-14) Purchased for two U.S. veteran brothers, one the Executive Director of non-profit Growing Warriors, Healing Ground Farm is 110 acres of woods, tillable fields and pasture supporting a diversified vegetable and animal operation. Fred and Michael Lewis share Iroquois Valley Farms' vision of returning soil to a naturally healthy and productive state. They will also be training veterans and others on Healing Ground Farm to become sustainable farming entrepreneurs, in association with Growing Warriors. In addition, they are already farming hemp and growing hemp seedstock, part of a pilot initiative the Lewis' spearheaded along with the KY Commissioner of Agriculture over the last two years. They have received DEA approval and at least one major corporation is already very actively involved, Patagonia. Union Fair Farm, Knox County ME (4-8-14) A remarkable cooperative partnership between organic yogurt leader Stonyfield and Iroquois Valley Farms made 30 yr old Caleb Harris the first farmer in Stonyfield's initiative to directly source milk from dairy farmers when Iroquois Valley Farms purchased a 200 acre Maine dairy farm for Mr. Harris.

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Investing:
More than 30 years
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
20 – 30 years
David E. Miller – Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer More Info

Rooted by heritage in Iroquois County, Illinois, Mr. Miller returned to his native farming community in 2005 after a 30 year career in banking and real estate financial management. Purchasing a small 10 acre family farmstead, he re-connected with local relatives farming organically. In 2007 he started Iroquois Valley Farms LLC by connecting a small group of family and friends to a 142 acre farm. Prior to seeding sustainable farmland ventures, Mr. Miller held executive positions at Bank of America, Santa Fe Southern Pacific and First Chicago Corporation. His extensive experience in structuring alternative real estate investments led to the formation of Iroquois Valley Farms, the first private company in the United States to integrate farmland and organic food production, utilizing mostly mid-size family farmers. An MBA graduate of Columbia University’s School of Business and 1975 graduate of Loyola University of Chicago, Mr. Miller views education as the primary key to changing the nature and health of our current food production system. In this regard, Mr. Miller is a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Environmental Studies at Loyola and was recently honored by the University (Damen Award) for distinguished services in the field of environmental sustainability. He resides nearby in Winnetka, Illinois along with his wife and three children.

Patrick Meara – Chief Financial Officer and Board Member More Info

Mr. Meara has managed commercial real estate investments for over twenty-five years on behalf of a national real estate development and investment firm. Over these years, he has managed multi-billion dollar portfolios of office buildings, shopping centers and other property types on behalf of institutional and individual investors. In connection with that role, he also leads his Chicago based firm’s sustainability efforts. Mr. Meara is a graduate of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and began his career as a Certified Public Accountant. He currently resides in Wilmette, IL with his family and serves as one of the original commissioners on the Village of Wilmette’s Environmental and Energy Commission. Mr. Meara has managed mortgage and debt financing for the company since 2010, and oversees the budgeting, accounting and tax planning for the Company as well.

Kevin Egolf – Managing DIrector of Business Services More Info

Mr. Egolf’s career started in the banking and private equity industry in New York City. He was led towards the Company due to its sustainable, local, organic farm focus. Based in our New York City offices, Mr. Egolf supports his sustainable lifestyle through cooking local, seasonal, organic foods purchased through farmer’s markets and from community supported agriculture programs as well as sharing his vermicomposting worms with friends and family. Mr. Egolf’s role at the Company is to help expand the Company’s geographic footprint in New York and New England while managing new member subscriptions on a national platform. Prior to focusing on sustainable ventures, Mr. Egolf was a senior associate at Castle Harlan, a middle market private equity firm, and previous to that role he was an investment banking analyst with Bank of America working for retail, consumer, and restaurant clients. Mr. Egolf is a graduate of Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Arts in both Economics and Computer Science.

John Steven Bianucci – Director of Impact More Info

Internally, Mr. Bianucci works with Iroquois Valley Farms Impact Advisory Board to maximize the triple-bottom line impact of The Company. Outwardly, he networks with the global impact investing community to further Iroquois Valley Farms’ mission, including foundational organizations in the field such as B Lab, Investor Circle, and GIIN. As Marketing Coordinator at STRATA, Mr. Bianucci was instrumental in their extremely successful 2009 re-branding effort and a leader and top performer in their Internal Sales Department. As an entrepreneur, he has co-founded, published, written and edited three publications. Computer User magazine was the country’s first regional computer publication and published monthly for 24 years. He has been a successful independent trader and trading advisory service owner. At Harvard College, where he earned a Degree in Psychology and Social Relations, he excelled in creative writing classes, as an editor of the Harvard Lampoon, and football letter winner. A history of interest in wise eating and passionate about health and organic farming, he began gardening, growing sprouts and shopping organically in high school.

Percentage of Investment Professionals who are Women and/or Under-Represented Groups in Firm's Geographic Focus:
Less than 25%
Percentage of Board Members who are Women and/or Under-Represented Groups in Firm's Geographic Focus:
Less than 25%

Financial Performance

Target Financial Returns Relative to Benchmark:
Above Market Rates
Actual Performance Relative to Target Financial Returns in the Past Three Years:
Over-delivered compared to initial target returns
Financial Reporting Frequency to Investors or Donors
Semi-annually

Impact Performance

Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
100%
Target Impact Outcomes:
Addressing climate change and environmental issues
Alleviating poverty
Conserving land, ecosystems and natural resources
Creating jobs
Increasing access to education and improving educational outcomes
Increasing access to financial services
Increasing access to healthcare services and improving health
Increasing access to water and sanitation
Promoting arts and media
Providing housing
Other: Keeping the Farmer on the land; Increasing the resilience, fertility, and productive capacity of agricultural lands and rural communities
Value-added Services Offered:
Access to markets
Business and legal training
Financial literacy training
Technology training
Health services
Education services

Investments systematically target companies where social and/or environmental impact is integral to the product/service being created:
Iroquois Valley Farms business model starts with developing a relationship with the farmer. The Company partners with local and organic farmers. To date, the Company has required all farmland be converted to USDA certified organic. These farmers are sourced through organic farming conferences, referral, word-of-mouth and industry knowledge. The Company supports the farmer in being a diversified and growing provider to the local food system.

Investments systematically include social and environmental sustainability practices in the due diligence process:
As a core business, Iroquois Valley Farms supports local and organic mid-size family farmers with generational land access by purchasing agricultural land and providing indefinitely renewable leases. The intent is to support the farmer's business by providing land tenure security (essential for sustainable farming practices), preferably USDA certified organic practices. From another perspective, the farmers are making the "investment" selection. They are choosing the land that fits their needs, and that will be transitioned to organic. Iroquois Valley Farms partners with experienced organic farmers or those who want to start farming organically.

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
Yes
Social and/or Environmental Impact is Reported to Investors and Donors:
Yes - on regular basis (annual or quarterly)
Third Party Validations:
Participant on steering committees or leadership roles within impact industry associations
Publisher or contributor to industry white paper or other research in impact investing
Industry Impact Metric Tools Used:
Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS)
None

Learn More

Key Contact Name: David E. Miller
Phone: (847) 736-0076
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 267
Wilmette, IL 60091

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Impact investments are investments made into organizations and funds that generate measurable social and environmental impact as well as financial returns.