Washington-backed Arable Capital adds to irrigation platform

After closing a $300m debut fund last summer, the acquisition of Universal Irrigation marks the third such deal for the West Coast midstream specialists.

Arable Capital Partners, a private investment firm backed by the Washington State Investment Board, has acquired California-based Universal Irrigation and Supply.

Price was not disclosed. A regulatory filing states that AC Irrigation HoldCo, an investment vehicle for which Arable Capital and Universal Irrigation executives are listed as officers, raised $4.75 million from two investors in mid-August.

Arable managing director Greg Richards told Agri Investor that the capital came from third-party investors in Universal, which took a minority stake through the deal.

Universal offers design, installation and maintenance services on irrigation, sprinkler and filtration systems used by permanent-crop growers in California’s Central Valley.

Arable Capital closed its debut fund on $300 million in August 2017, after securing a commitment from a single investor later revealed to be the $129 billion Washington State Investment Board.

Richards told Agri Investor at the time that the vehicle targets mid-stream assets relating to specialty crop and tree-fruit industries on the US West Coast, with hold periods of as long as 15 years.

In April, Arable Capital acquired Hydratec, a micro-irrigation company servicing tree and vine growers in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The firm then bought Lodi Pump and Irrigation, which provides drip and sprinkler irrigation systems and related services to California grape, almond and walnut producers, in July.

A previous regulatory filing for AC Irrigation HoldCo, on which Lodi general manager Steve Borra is listed as an officer alongside Arable Capital executives, revealed that the vehicle raised $5 million in July.

Arable Capital, which has headquarters in both Bellevue, Washington and Bakersfield, California plans to merge Universal together with Hydratec and Lodi Pump and Irrigation. The firm believes the combination will allow the irrigation platform to offer customers an expanded range of operations and product offerings.

Universal president Jeremy Yurosek will remain in that position following the company’s acquisition.

Arable Capital managing director Derek Yurosek, who previously served as head of agriculture operations for the agriculture asset management team of BMGI/Cascade Investment – the private holding company for Bill and Melinda Gates – told Agri Investor that he and Jeremy Yurosek are distant cousins.

Arable also used capital from its $300 million Arable Capital fund to purchase Fresh Innovations California in April and Farmington Fresh Cuts in June. Both companies are fruit processors headquartered in California.