Cooks Venture, a next-generation agricultural technology (ag tech) company committed to regenerative agriculture and a transparent supply chain, recently announced the closing of $12 million in senior secured financing provided by AMERRA Capital Management LLC, a private alternative asset management firm with a focus on agribusiness and aquaculture operating companies.
Cooks Venture said it is establishing regenerative agriculture systems through crop science and genetic intellectual property to build a superior, transparent food system for the future as well as redefining ag tech for monogastric animals. The company's first offerings are pasture-raised, slow-growth, heirloom chickens, which are the result of a nine-figure investment which has taken over a decade to come to fruition.
In order to increase the use of regenerative farming and further develop crop science, Cooks Venture will use the funding to expand its processing capabilities, lead farmers in the transition to regenerative processes and work with leading agro-ecologists to improve and innovate industry practices.
As a result of the funding round, Cooks Venture has opened a completely renovated, start-of-the art, air-chilled processing facility that officially allows the company to be able to produce up to 700,000 slow-growth heirloom chickens per week.
Cooks Venture is now the only independent genetics company of scale in the world. The company said the sole purpose of its business has been to develop the best slow-growth heirloom chickens available nationwide, with a focus on better animal welfare and regenerative agricultural systems. This has been supported through propriety poultry genetics and crop science technology developed by Cooks Venture and its acquisitions.
Cooks Venture was founded on the scientific principle that sequestering 1% more carbon into the soil on agricultural lands could help reverse climate change. The company operates on four pillars of regenerative agriculture: better soil health, increased biodiversity, the use of integrated pest management and better energy use. Following these tenants reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers that harm ecosystems and destroy soil fertility which, in turn, lowers energy consumption and decreases carbon emissions, according to the announcement.
"Our goal is to use crop science and state-of-the-art technology to build regenerative processes and change our current food system while mitigating climate change. We're starting with the most impactful and prolifically eaten food in the world: poultry," Cooks Venture founder and chief executive officer Matthew Wadiak said. "AMERRA was an ideal partner for us, and their provided financing will help us achieve our near-term growth objectives and allow us to expand our capacity to serve [business-to-business] and direct consumers nationally.”
After launching in the spring of 2019, Cooks Venture quickly partnered with online grocer FreshDirect to make its pasture-raised, slow-growth, heirloom chickens available to customers across the Northeast. Two months later, the poultry became available to customers, restaurants and food retailers across northern California through the company's partnership with fourth-generation regional meat distributor Golden Gate Meat Co.
"Most importantly, this financing will give us the opportunity to further shape how regenerative farming is used within the larger agriculture space and help farmers who are looking to get more involved, all while providing consumers with responsible food choices driven by our proprietary systems," Wadiak said.