Dryland Genetics Raises $3.8 million fundraising round

Dryland Genetics in Ames has raised $3.8 million in venture funding in a round led by Next Level Ventures and Stine Seed Farm, with additional investment coming from the company’s existing investors.

Founded in 2014 and based at the ISU Research Park, Dryland Genetics employs advanced breeding technologies to create a more resilient and sustainable food supply. The company has dramatically increased the yield of proso, a water use efficient grain grown in the high plains from Texas to Canada, with approximately a half-million acres under production in Colorado, Nebraska, and South Dakota.  The company plans to use the funding to expand its seed sales and marketing staff, including the recruitment of a Chief Commercial Officer. 

“Sustainable food production throughout the world is increasingly limited by water. Proso’s ability to produce a crop where other grains cannot be grown without irrigation is an exciting opportunity for farmers, livestock producers and food companies. Dryland Genetics’ proso produces more grain using less water than other grains, positioning it to play a growing role in securing our nation’s sustainable food supply. Dryland Genetics’ success in using conventional breeding technology to increase crop yields enables farmers to make more money while increasing the supply of this sustainable grain,” said Duane Harris at Next Level Ventures in a release.  “Our team is greatly impressed by what Dryland Genetics has accomplished.”

“We are thrilled with the success of our new proso varieties, as well as the support of our growers and investors as we seek more efficient ways to feed the world in an increasingly challenging environment for agriculture. This investment will allow Dryland Genetics to scale the company so that we can ultimately serve additional farmers and food manufacturers, with the goal of creating a more resilient and sustainable food supply for consumers,” said Dr. James Schnable, co-founder of Dryland Genetics.