Founded in 2014 by co-CEOs Tom Avinelis and Rob Hurlbut, Agriculture Capital’s focus on is on responsible, regenerative farming and food production at scale.
Together, Avinelis and Hurlbut bring complementary expertise to an industry both are strongly passionate about. Agriculture Capital invests long-term capital on behalf of pensions and endowments that see real value in farming and food and have entrusted retirement and investment funds to us to help enhance returns.
“Implicit in our strategy is investing not just in the farms and food processing facilities, but in the people and communities that ultimately support the operations that help us provide better, healthier foods” said Hurlbut.
Today, Agriculture Capital — in association with its subsidiary AC Foods — manages farms, packing and cold storage facilities and nurseries, including 18,000 acres of table grapes, citrus, blueberries and some almonds in California; blueberries, wine grapes and hazelnuts in Oregon; and citrus in Australia.
AC invests to build customer-driven, vertically integrated, appropriately scaled and regenerative businesses that support the planet and the communities in which they farm and operate.
“We invest in permanent crops because we intend to be here for a long time. We respect the heritage of the businesses we acquire and work to maintain continuity wherever possible. Our goal is to provide resources — including capital, expertise and synergies — to help these businesses grow and prosper for many years to come” said Avinelis.
In California, AC Foods owns approximately 13,600 acres, from Arvin to Stockton. The AC Foods family includes Tree Source Citrus Nursery, Legacy Packing and Shipping and Cal Valley Citrus. AC Foods also recently acquired Columbine Vineyards in Delano and Arvin.
“We came together with a common vision of sustainably growing the healthiest, most nutritious and highest-quality food for families across the U.S. and around the world,” Avinelis said of the Colombine acquisition. “We believe the farms and facilities of Columbine will become an iconic part of our business and are looking forward to working with Columbine to meet the growing demand for healthy, delicious food.”
To ensure AC values are carried out across operations from seed to fork, Avinelis and Hurlbut have brought in experts from diverse backgrounds such as finance, farming, processing, marketing, policy, safety and sustainability to create a world-class team. Managing many of the AC Foods companies and farms is Agriculture Capital Operations, led by agriculture veteran Darren Filkins and based in Bakersfield. ACO oversees the daily operations of farms, packing and sales to ensure the safest, highest quality of healthy fruits.
The AC and AC Foods teams are focused on bringing needed scale to regenerative food production, defined as delivering positive impact — not just avoiding negative impact — to human and ecological systems.
Some examples of where AC Foods looks to have positive impact include: creating local jobs, planting habitat for native pollinators, supporting the broader community outside of the farms and stewarding natural resources such as water in order to manage long-term impacts. The ACO team is dedicated to the San Joaquin Valley. Many team members are valley natives and are encouraged to be actively involved in their communities.
“We are thrilled to be an economic contributor to the Central Valley and look forward to helping to develop the thriving ecological and human communities, sustainably managed natural resources and better availability of healthier food that will create long-term success throughout our business and communities,” Hurlbut said.
Amanda Steele is chief marketing officer responsible for leading Agriculture Capital’s marketing and brand strategies.