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Grosvenor family’s agri-food arm sets up US office

Britain’s wealthiest land-owning family has established a North American office to develop its future-focused businesses and seek potential investments.

Britain’s wealthiest land-owning family has established a North American office to develop its future-focused businesses and seek potential investments.

Wheatsheaf Group, the food and agriculture operator and investor holding of the Grosvenor Estate, has set up operations in Minneapolis, Minnesota, headed by former Cargill manager Sylvio Petto Neto.

The Grosvenor family unit currently has seven North American companies in its portfolio ranging from vertical farmer AeroFarms to sustainable insect-based feed manufacturer Enterra.

Its forward-looking investments are based on the belief that changing global patterns of food consumption are putting significant strain on the sustainability of food production and natural resources.

Established in 2012 to diversify the family’s activities beyond property and land, Wheatsheaf has to date assessed more than 850 opportunities in the food and agriculture sector and invested in 21.

Wheatsheaf is one of three parts of the Grosvenor Estate which represents the business activities of the Grosvenor family.

The family’s best-known assets include some of London’s most exclusive properties in Mayfair, Belgravia and part of Oxford St, which it has managed since 1677.

Graham Ramsbottom, chief executive of Wheatsheaf Group, said: “Wheatsheaf brings a different perspective to the North American market. We are a relatively new business that has achieved significant global scale quickly but in a way which shares in the values of the Grosvenor Estate – which traces its roots back almost 1,000 years—namely a far-sighted investment approach, one which aims to create value over the long-term, judging success by a measure which looks to the next generation.”

The seventh Duke of Westminster is Hugh Grosvenor, pictured, who succeeded to the title after the death of his father Gerald in 2016.

Grosvenor Group reported annual revenue profit of £79.2 million ($97.7 million) in 2016. The Grosvenor Estate does not disclose the revenues of Wheatsheaf Group or its Family Investment Office.

Wheatsheaf’s North American portfolio includes:  

·         New Jersey-based AeroFarms, which grows leafy greens and herbs through its patented vertical farming aeroponic system requiring no soil or sunlight

·         San Francisco-based BluWrap, which provides naturally-extended shelf-life technologies

·         Vancouver-based Enterra, which manufactures and markets sustainable insect-based feed ingredients

·         Calgary-based Growsafe which uses data acquisition technology to continuously measure individual animal bio-metric and other data to identify feed efficient, sick and market ready animals individually

·         Vancouver-based Ostara which helps protect water resources by changing the way cities around the world manage excess nutrients both in wastewater streams and due to fertilizer runoff

·         San Francisco-based SharedX which focuses on improving the value of farmland in developing countries through experienced crop selection, the application of modern precision farming techniques and the shortening of the supply chain to eliminate middlemen that take profit away from farmers

Seattle based TriStrata Group, which engineers and implements innovative ozone food safety applications


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