AC Foods Companies Restructure for Rapid Growth

Jul 21, 2020 industry news

Preparing for scale and expansion, Agriculture Capital adds talent and focus to leadership teams.

Dinuba, CA – Agriculture Capital (AC) is pleased to announce a restructuring and the addition of new leadership to prepare for rapid growth and continued operational excellence. Under the new structure, AC Foods companies previously led by AC Operations will be divided into AC Brands, AC Farming, and AC Nursery & Genetics, each headed by a CEO with extensive industry experience.

Led by newly appointed CEO, Craig Hope, AC Brands will lead all five of AC Foods U.S. fresh fruit packing and cold storage businesses, including Suntreat/Legacy Packing and Cold Storage, Cal Valley Citrus, Columbine Vineyards, and  Silver Mountain Packing. AC Brands will also manage Sales and Marketing for AC’s citrus and table grape portfolios,  including Suntreat®, Sumo Citrus®, I’m Pink®, Columbine Vineyards®, Holiday®, and Milano® brands. Craig brings over thirty years of experience in general management, sales, and marketing with Kraft Foods/Nabisco, E&J Gallo,  Earthbound Farm/WhiteWave Food Company, Country Fresh Holdings (Fresh Food Group) and most recently Diamond Foods.

“Craig’s experience in building teams, leading high-growth businesses and product innovation make him an ideal fit for the AC Brands team as it pursues strong growth and expansion of our citrus, table grape, and blueberry businesses,” said Tom Avinelis, Co-Managing Director of Agriculture Capital. “He understands what it takes to drive high-performance teams to great business results, and we’re grateful to have him join us to lead our next phase of growth.”

“The AC model of regenerative agriculture and food production was immediately enticing to me and is well-aligned with my personal values,” shared Craig Hope, AC Brands CEO. “I am thrilled to add my skills to this team, help grow our  brands across the portfolio, and partner with our valued growers, customers, and employees to create access to food  that is better and healthier for their families.”

In addition, AC Brands has added Jason Allen as CFO. Jason brings over twenty years of industry leadership at world-class organizations like Olam Americas, Newell Brands, and The Hershey Company. Jason will focus on building out AC Brand’s finance and accounting team, system and processes to ensure customer service and accounting supports both customers and growers with timely, transparent information as we grow our business together.

AC Farming will be led by Darren Filkins, CEO. With nearly 10,000 acres of citrus, table grape, blueberry, and tree nut farms in California under management, Darren and his team will be focused on growing the best quality fruits and nuts to delight customers and consumers. Darren’s extensive industry experience will allow him to apply best practices for efficiency and innovation as AC looks to continue to expand its regenerative farming scale in the Western U.S.

Roger Smith has been promoted to CEO of AC Nursery and Genetics. Including both TreeSource nursery and  Columbine Vineyards nursery and genetics programs, Roger will lead the nursery and genetics programs across AC’s citrus and table grape portfolios. With over thirty years of experience, an innovative mindset, and strong business acumen, Roger’s leadership will help us to support the long-term growth of the AC portfolio with the best possible genetics and plants.

“We are thrilled to be adding experienced leaders like Craig Hope and Jason Allen and to be moving to a structure that positions our teams to focus on what they do best,” said Rob Hurlbut, Co-managing Director, Agriculture Capital. “As  we plan for investment in future expansion to build out our regenerative, vertically-integrated food businesses, the AC  Brands, AC Farming, and AC Nursery and Genetics management teams are ready to scale to meet the dynamic needs  of customers, growers, and retail partners.”