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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

Pipeline Acquires SunOpta’s Specialty and Organic Corn and Soy Business for $66.5M

Pipeline Foods, the first U.S.-based food supply chain company focused solely on establishing sustainable global supply chains for organic and non-GMO food and feed, announced it has acquired SunOpta’s specialty and organic corn and soybean business for $66.5 million.

Through the deal, Pipeline adds 12 new facilities to its overall footprint spanning the Canadian Prairies, North Dakota, Southwest Iowa, Missouri, and Argentina. Included are eight grain elevators, one dry corn mill, one expeller pressed crush plant, and two grain processing and packing facilities located across Hope, Minnesota, Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, Ellendale, Minnesota, Moorhead, Minnesota, and Cresco, Iowa.

“We are excited by this incredible opportunity to grow our business and expand the accessibility of organic and specialty grains in the U.S.,” said Eric Jackson, chief executive of Pipeline Foods. “With this move, we are merging the newest team in the sustainable agriculture supply chain business with the most tenured and respected team in the business, and creating something even better.”

GAI News first reported on the birth of Pipeline Foods in February of this year, when AMERRA Capital Management and Pipeline Opportunity Partners announced their partnership to launch the company, which is dedicated to developing sustainable global supply chains to meet demand for organic and non-GMO ingredients and grains.

“We laid out an ambitious goal when we entered the market in 2017 to dramatically increase the amount of organic and non-GMO grain grown in the U.S.,” said Jackson. “This is a critical next step in our company’s growth. It will add new capabilities and products to the existing Pipeline Foods portfolio – a benefit to both our farmers and food company customers.”

These additional assets will help Pipeline achieve its target of seeing 250,000 acres transition to organic production this year. And toward this end, Pipeline has established additional regional headquarters in Winnipeg, Canada, and Buenos Aires, Argentina – giving the company a presence in three of the world’s top grain producing regions.

Through Pipeline’s intent to retain all of SunOpta’s employees, Pipeline will not only more than double its workforce, but will bring over 40 years of experience and history in the organic and non-GMO industry. This will enable Pipeline to extend all services, including grain merchandising, and its Farm Profit and Ag Impact programs to its growers and customer base.

“We are merging the innovation and investment power of Pipeline Foods with the tenure and respect of SunOpta, integrating the best parts of each organization to build a world-class business that can deliver value to our farmer-partners as well as our customers,” said Jackson. “We believe the respective organizations’ products, geographies, customers and farmer networks are very complementary to each other. Our focused passion for organic, sustainable and regenerative agriculture will only continue to grow. We foresee great things to come.”

Moving forward, SunOpta will continue to operate its remaining North American sourcing and supply operations which include its sunflower and roasting business, and Tradin Organic, its European-based international sourcing and supply platform, which were excluded from the divestment.

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