If you are a farmer, industry professional or potential investor interested in knowing more about investment opportunities in Wisconsin's emerging bio-economy, plan to attend a full day conference "Investing in Agriculture," Thursday, Dec. 14 at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.
Sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Badger AgVest and others, the conference provides an opportunity to hear from early-stage, high-growth potential companies that add value to Wisconsin's agriculture sector.
"The choices that we each make now about where we invest our limited resources will affect all of us down the road," says Rod Nilsestuen, secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and advocate for the emerging bio-economy.
Farmer Keith Ripp agrees.
"If Wisconsin producers want to benefit from the bio-economy, we can't sit back and watch," says Ripp, a cash grain and livestock producer from Lodi. Ripp is president of the Board of Directors of Badger AgVest, a statewide "angel investor network" focused on Wisconsin's agricultural industry.
A study underway by the University of Wisconsin examines producers' interest in off-farm, ag-related opportunities. Greg Lawless of the Agricultural Innovation Center co-conducted the study and estimates an investment capacity between $100-200 million in the Wisconsin farm community. "That may sound like a lot," he said, "but even leveraged with loans, it would only buy about five average-sized ethanol plants-- and that isn't the only opportunity out there."
The "Investing in Agriculture" conference is set to kick-off with a morning of educational workshops on the bio-economy and off-farm investment. In the afternoon, six diverse bio-based companies will present investment opportunities at the Ag Venture Fair.
For updates on the companies who will present at this year's Ag Venture Fair, visit badgeragvest.com. Save $15 if you register for the conference by Dec. 4. For more information about this year's "Investing in Agriculture" conference, visit aic.uwex.edu.
This is Badger AgVest's third Ag Venture Fair in four years. The organization is actively seeking new members and participants.