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Arable Capital acquires Hydratec amid Californian craze for drip irrigation

The acquisition, which comes just weeks after the US firm announced its first deal, comes as Arable accelerates deployment of its $300m single-LP fund.

Arable Capital Partners has purchased Hydratec, a Californian irrigation business, for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 1981, the company bills itself as a pioneer in the advancement in micro-irrigation technology. Historically, it has largely serviced tree and vine growers, but Hydratec said this is now changing.

“There has been a significant increase in row-crop customers due to a growing demand for drip irrigation systems,” the company noted, adding that its customer base spans both small family farms and “large corporate operations.” Its activities center on the San Joaquin Valley.

The deal is the second announced by California- and Washington-based Arable Capital, though more may have been sealed already by the firm. It comes just weeks after the asset manager acquired Fresh Innovations California, a fruit processor mostly focused on sliced apples.

Earlier this month, Arable Capital managing director Greg Richards told Agri Investor Seattle-based Alpine Pacific Capital, which took a minority share alongside the firm, had introduced it to that acquisition target. He declined to comment how many deals had been secured to date by Arable Capital, which Richards founded in 2016.

The firm reached a final close on its $300 million debut fund last August thanks to a single pledge by the Washington State Investment Board. The vehicle primarily focuses on midstream assets and ancillary businesses on the US West Coast, with holding periods of 15 years or more.

Richards previously was managing director of HarvestWest Investments, a farmland fund manager he co-founded. Arable Capital’s second managing director, Derek Yurosek, is in charge of agricultural management and investment oversight at the firm.

Yurosek was previously agricultural operations chief at Cottonwood Ag Management, the agriculture asset management arm of Bill and Melinda Gates’ private holding company.