Rural America Fund II invests in water-saving tech

Rural America Fund II has made its first investment in Aquatrols Corporation of America, which produces a compound to optimise soil-water-plant interactions. RAF II is still fundraising for a $75m target.

Rural America Fund (RAF), a Chicago-based agribusiness private equity fund, has made the first investment from its second fund, Rural American Fund II (RAF II).

RAF II held its first closing on $20 million last September and was set up to target the fragmented, North American rural agribusiness market. The fund is still fundraising for a target of $75 million and is backed by agricultural entrepreneurs and some institutional investors, Agri Investor learned.

The fund has invested in Aquatrols Corporation of America, a water-saving technology company that uses compounds to optimise soil-water-plant interactions. The investment will be used to recapitalise the company, according to a press release.

“Water management is one of RAF’s target investment areas and Aquatrols has an outstanding reputation for product efficacy, R&D and customer service in this field,” Tom Karlson, principal of the RAF, said in a statement. “As with all our investments, we look forward to assisting Aquatrols in the execution of its strategy via the experience of RAF’s principals and strategic limited partners in the ag markets.”

Aquatrols’ products are used by more than just farmers but also on golf courses, in nurseries, greenhouses and other applications across more than 35 countries worldwide, according to its website.

“We are very pleased to have created this alliance. The Rural American Fund’s partnership approach, resources and experience will help facilitate our continued growth in agricultural and other markets – and move us closer to our vision of changing the way the world grows in order to produce more with less,” Tracy Moore Jarman, Aquatrols’ president said in a statement.

Mira Capital Advisors is acting as exclusive placement agent for RAF II.

Rural American Fund I closed in 2008 and currently holds a range of companies in its portfolio including Technology Crops International, a crop oil producer and La Crosse Seed, a seed manufacturer.

RAF invests in privately-held, matured agribusinesses in the US that have annual cash flows of $1 million or more. Although the funds don’t invest in land or farming operations, they are on the hunt for opportunities with businesses providing agricultural inputs or services; companies that supply or process niche crop or animal-based products and ag-equipment, according to its website.