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Midwestern BioAg works with producers to achieve better farming through better soil™. Healthier soil reduces applications of nitrogen and phosphorous, allowing cleaner water to drain into the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

Investment

$5 million direct equity investment; originated in 2016

Rationale

Farmer-centric business to help producers grow yields, increase profits and improve soil health. Given that agricultural runoff is the main culprit of Mississippi River pollution, MBA’s success maps directly onto the goals of McKnight’s program to restore the water quality and resilience of America’s iconic river.

Returns

Too early to evaluate financial or environmental returns. MBA is committed to third-party scientific research on the impact of its products and services.

In 2017, MBA opened a new facility to produce its standardized retail fertilizer TerraNu™. Co-located with an operating biodigester on a large Indiana farm, it is the final step in a circular process that turns animal waste first into energy and then a soil-enhancing organic fertilizer.

Lessons Learned

For many years the agricultural input business has been relatively static, controlled by several large corporations. MBA is operating in an interesting market niche providing both appropriate yield and environmental benefits with an approach that can work for both organic and large-scale conventional farming.

As of November 2017

Disclaimer of Endorsement: The McKnight Foundation does not endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or service providers.