Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance Policy 2018-04-24T14:57:17+00:00

A Principled Approach

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance Policy

Our Purpose

Nearly three decades ago, Summit Farms began as a 300-acre corn and soybean operation in Hardin County, Iowa. We now farm more than 14,000 acres; raise livestock; and invest in wind energy, renewable fuels and international development projects. At the heart of every operation, investment and Summit team member is a focus on integrity in business, in stewardship and in our community.

The practice of agriculture is among the oldest, most sacred professions of human history. At Summit, we have an unwavering commitment to protecting the traditions of our nation’s farming heritage while exemplifying the bold innovation and progressive business practices that are required of the ag industry in the 21st century.

Today, Summit Agricultural Group is among the most successful and diversified agribusinesses in the Midwest. We are proud that investors have entrusted us to protect, preserve and grow more than $400 million in assets. We value that trust and assume the responsibility necessary to maintain it. We also believe it is our obligation to be responsible farmers, successful business partners and good neighbors to the communities in which we operate – both environmentally and philanthropically.

That means deploying capital in ways that generate jobs and revitalize rural America for generations to come. A good example is our recent investment in Iowa Premium Beef in Tama, Iowa.  In 2013, we were the driving force to invest in and reopen a beef processing facility that had been shuttered for years. Now, more than 800 employees make up Iowa Premium Beef, and cattle have been purchased from more than 1,400 farm families in Iowa and neighboring states. That investment speaks to the vision and values that embody Summit Agricultural Group.

The purpose of this policy is to further define our approach to environmental, social, and governance issues while creating value through our agriculture- and renewable energy-related funds. At Summit Agricultural Group, we are fully committed to considering environmental, social, and governance issues as part of our due diligence process.

Four Pillars of Success

Performance Through Innovation

A robust network of operators, ag-centric innovators and savvy investors that allows Summit Agricultural Group to structure investments efficiently and provide the resources to move quickly to capitalize on viable new opportunities.

Proven Collaboration

Summit manages assets effectively by employing progressive strategies that have been proven over time, because investments should never be left to chance.

Bottom-Up Approach

Experience allows Summit Agricultural Group to be successful early adopters of the best and most promising emerging practices, and work with investors to communicate a unique understanding of signature investment opportunities as they develop.

Tradition and Legacy

Summit places great value in the legacy of the American farmer – the company combines a reverence for tradition with modern farming techniques to act as stewards to improve land quality, aesthetics and worth.

Our Environmental Commitment

We work closely with local farmers, landowners, families and government agencies every day to ensure that Summit Agricultural Group is held to the highest environmental standards at all times. As part of this company-wide commitment to stewardship, we pledge to preserve and enhance the inherent, lasting value of our agricultural operations.

As Summit Agricultural Group continues to grow and evolve, our commitment to environmental responsibility across all facets of our operations, both domestically and internationally, is one of our highest priorities. We firmly believe that environmentally responsible investing and investor returns are not mutually exclusive. Responsible farming, land stewardship and environmental and wildlife conservation are powerful tools we use not just in managing the land, but also as a source of prosperity and pride for our investors and our communities.

Preserving Natural Habitat
While much of our land is used for crops and livestock, many acres have been set aside through our land and water conservation programs, including wetlands, timber ground, terraces, waterways and filter strips.

Promoting Animal Welfare
Summit Agricultural Group raises livestock under the highest standards of animal welfare. All Summit-owned and managed facilities provide humane living conditions, nutritious feed and fresh, potable water. Our approach means healthier animals, safer food and greater purchasing confidence for our buyers.

Protecting Water Quality
Protecting our groundwater and waterways is an investment in our land and environment both today and for the future. Summit Agricultural Group has installed and maintains more than 40 miles of grass filter strips and waterways. Our practices prevent erosion and halt runoff at our farm sites, resulting in greater retention of nutrients for our crops and cleaner water for our environment.

 Planting Trees
Every year, Summit plants more than 10,000 trees as a natural, cost-effective, and long-term solution that improves agricultural land and preserves our environment. The trees we plant serve to provide habitat for wildlife, prevent erosion, and improve air quality, protecting our crops and livestock and adding beauty to our community. At Summit Agricultural Group we also add automated dripline systems to windbreaks at our livestock facilities, to more quickly establish a strong, effective tree barrier for the facility and surrounding neighbors.

Summit Environmental Operations Team
Summit Agricultural Group has a designated Environmental Operations Team that has expanded Summit’s rich history of conservation practices. We initiated these practices in collaboration with neighbors, farmers, USDA and many other agricultural stakeholders. These programs include:

• Conservation Reserve Program
• Wetland Reserve Program
• Upland Habitats
• Pasture and Windbreak Reclamation
• Environmental Quality Incentive Program

We place a strong emphasis on creating a legacy for future generations. This proactive approach includes the following practices:

• More than 1,000 acres in a USDA program to protect environmentally sensitive areas
• In 2001, a 187-acre wetland was reestablished under the Wetland Reserve Program
• More than 30 acres of food plots seeded each year for wildlife habitat
• Annual fall cover crops improve soil productivity, control erosion and provide livestock forage
• The latest technology is implemented to reduce soil residue disturbance
• Split nutrient applications are used to maximize crops use

Our Social Responsibility

The culture of stewardship goes well beyond a relationship with the land – it extends to personal relationships in the home, the workplace and our communities. At Summit Agricultural Group, we are actively involved in improving our communities as engaged citizens, responsible neighbors and through the Rastetter Foundation.

Rastetter Foundation
The Rastetter Foundation is a charitable organization focused on supporting educational and agricultural pursuits in Iowa through private donations to educational institutions, youth programs and non-profit groups. The Rastetter Foundation is continuing Summit’s mission of investing in the future of the heartland. Founded in 2008 by Bruce Rastetter, The Rastetter Foundation is dedicated to giving back to Iowa’s communities with gifts that help to sustain the state’s proudest traditions and assist in developing strong new leaders. With more than $10 million awarded since its inception, the Rastetter Foundation is making a meaningful difference for individuals and communities statewide.

Iowa Ag Summit
The Iowa Ag Summit is an event that highlights and promotes agriculture, allowing elected officials, public policy leaders, industry leaders and invited guests to have a public discussion on issues that are vital to the Iowa and American economy. The forum is solely dedicated to matters that directly affect Iowa farmers who feed and fuel the world. The first-ever Iowa Ag Summit in 2015 featured one-on-one discussions on agriculture, rural America and economic issues with the field of presidential candidates.