Open Prairie Announces Initial Closing on $100 Million Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund and USDA License as a Rural Business Investment Company

EFFINGHAM, IL, January 24, 2018 – Open Prairie is pleased to announce that its newest growth-stage private equity fund, the Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund, L.P., has received a license from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to operate as a Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC). In conjunction with its licensure, the fund has also completed a first closing with strategic partner commitments of over $55 million from lead investors comprised of institutions within the Farm Credit System, commercial and community banks, family offices, farm organizations and individuals passionate about advancing agriculture and growth throughout rural America.

The global food and agriculture system is on the precipice of unparalleled change. World population is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050 and agriculture continues to represent the largest environmental footprint of any economic sector. Globalization and development of emerging markets has resulted in a burgeoning middle class with disposable income, an expansive palate and greater focus on food safety, health and convenience. Additionally, caloric demands are expected to increase more than 70% by 2050 as consumers incorporate more proteins into their diets, resulting in crop demand growth requirements of over 100%.

Open Prairie Founder and Managing Partner, Jim Schultz, stated, “Open Prairie has worked closely with its lead investors to establish the Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund as an investment vehicle uniquely positioned to capitalize on the challenges facing today’s agriculture environment.” The Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund is a balanced private equity fund offering debt and equity capital to growth and later-stage companies across the agribusiness value chain.

“Compeer Financial, along with our Farm Credit Associations and partners, is committed to growth of agribusinesses, jobs and new innovations in agriculture and rural America. We’re excited to partner with Open Prairie, 11 banking institutions and other investor partners to provide leadership, expertise and expand rural networks through the USDA’s Rural Business Investment Program,” explained Compeer Financial’s Chief Mission and Marketing Officer, John Monson.

The U.S. remains a global leader in agriculture, particularly with respect to creation, development and implementation of technologies with worldwide applications. Pat Morand, Open Prairie Partner and President, said, “With our multi-generational connections to rural America and a history of success in facilitating growth for its portfolio companies while generating top-tier returns for its partners, the Open Prairie team will leverage its expertise to identify opportunities in areas such as crop protection, ingredients, processing, storage, data management and logistics. The fund has begun cultivating a rich pipeline of prospects and will continue to raise capital with additional closings expected during the first half of 2018.”

About Open Prairie
Open Prairie, based in the heartland of America with headquarters in Effingham, Illinois and offices in Champaign, Illinois, Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Olathe, Kansas, is a multi-faceted private equity fund management firm with deep roots in rural America. Founded in 1997, Open Prairie has consistently focused on facilitating capital accessibility in underserved markets. The Open Prairie team has managed funds ranging from technology-based venture capital to farmland portfolios. Through its expertise across all functional business disciplines and an extensive network of professionals, Open Prairie works in partnership with its portfolio companies to accelerate growth while providing top-tier returns to its investors. For more information about Open Prairie, please visit www.openprairie.com.

About the Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund
The Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund is a targeted $100 million private equity fund licensed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC). The institutional investors that participated in the first closing in December, 2017 include: Farm Credit organizations – AgriBank (St. Paul, MN), CoBank (Denver, CO), Compeer Financial, FLCA (Sun Prairie, MN), Farm Credit Mid-America (Louisville, KY), Farm Credit Services of America (Omaha, NE) and FCS Financial (Jefferson City, MO); commercial and community banks – Dieterich Bank (Effingham, IL), FarmerMac (Washington, DC), First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust (Mattoon, IL), First National Bank of Omaha (Omaha, NE), Investors Community Bank (Manitowoc, WI), Prospect Bank (Paris, IL), Sauk Valley Bank & Trust (Sterling, IL), Security Bank (Laurel, NE); farming organizations – Farmers Union Enterprises (Alexandria, MN), North Dakota Farmers Union (Jamestown, ND); and individuals committed to the growth of rural America. The Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund is focused on providing debt and equity capital of $2 - $10 million to growth companies in food and agriculture. For more information on the Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund, please visit www.openprairie.com.

Contacts
Open Prairie
Jason Wrone – +1.217.347.5430
jason@openprairie.com