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Compeer Financial launches third rural business investment company

Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund is a balanced private equity fund offering debt and equity capital to growth and later-stage companies across agribusiness value chain.     

Compeer Financial announced its partnership with the Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund. It’s the third Rural Business Investment Company that Compeer Financial has committed to under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Business Investment Program (RBIP), which is focused on providing additional capital to agriculture and rural America.

In conjunction with its licensure, the fund has completed a first closing with strategic partner commitments of more than $55 million from lead investors comprised of banks within the Farm Credit System, commercial and community banks, family offices, farm organizations and individuals passionate about advancing agriculture and growth throughout rural America.

“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 limited partners to provide leadership, expertise and expand rural networks through the USDA’s Rural Business Investment Program,” explained Compeer Financial chief mission and marketing officer John Monson. “By offering additional capital to rural America, through the USDA program, Compeer Financial is fulfilling their mission of enriching rural America and agriculture.”

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.

The fund is being formed under RBIP, which USDA uses to license funds to invest in enterprises that will create growth and job opportunities in rural areas, with an emphasis on smaller enterprises. Working through the USDA program enables licensed funds to raise capital from Farm Credit System banks and associations.

The Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and lending associations specifically chartered to serve agriculture and the U.S. rural economy, is an essential provider of credit to agriculture and rural America. This new partnership between Farm Credit institutions and Open Prairie, a fund management firm, brings together resources and people that are focused on providing more private capital, small business investment and quality jobs to rural America. This public/private partnership will have a tangible, positive impact on the rural economy and is a model of how government can serve as a catalyst for private investment in rural America.

Compeer Financial is a member-owned Farm Credit cooperative serving and supporting agriculture and rural communities. The $18.5 billion organization provides loans, leases, risk management and other financial services throughout 144 counties in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Based in the Upper Midwest, Compeer Financial exists to champion the hopes and dreams of rural America while providing personalized service and expertise to clients and the agriculture industry.

Compeer Financial is the third-largest cooperative of the Farm Credit System, supporting agriculture and rural communities with reliable, consistent credit and financial services.

Open Prairie, with headquarters in Effingham, Ill., and offices in Champaign, Ill.; Kalamazoo, Mich., and Olathe, Kan., is a multifaceted 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.

The Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund is a targeted, $100 million private equity fund licensed by RBIC. The fund is focused on providing debt and equity capital to enable high-growth companies in agriculture, with an investor base that includes: Farm Credit organizations – AgriBank (St. Paul, Minn.), CoBank (Denver, Colo.), Compeer Financial (Sun Prairie, Wis.), Farm Credit Mid-America (Louisville, Ky.), Farm Credit Services of America (Omaha, Neb.) and FCS Financial (Jefferson City, Mo.); commercial and community banks – Dieterich Bank (Effingham, Ill.), FarmerMac (Washington, D.C.),  First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust (Mattoon, Ill.), First National Bank of Omaha (Omaha), Investors Community Bank (Manitowoc, Wis.),  Prospect Bank (Paris, Ill.), Sauk Valley Bank & Trust (Sterling, Ill.), Security Bank (Laurel, Neb.); farming organizations – Farmers Union Enterprises (Alexandria, Minn.), North Dakota Farmers Union (Jamestown, N.D.), and individuals who are passionately committed to the growth of rural America.

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