Team | Ag Solutions Capital

Meet Our Team

Justin Burns

Justin Burns

Founder

I was fortunate to be born and raised in rural Oregon in and around agriculture surrounded by those whose lives – directly and indirectly – relied on agriculture. Those dedicated to agriculture make it great and that’s why I choose to work in this field.

Since graduating from Oregon State University and Willamette University College of Law, I have benefitted from personal and professional lessons from successful owners, operators, and advisors across the agricultural spectrum. From these experiences, I have observed pervasive practicality, loyalty, generosity, and modesty and witnessed these qualities’ contributions to operational success. Most of all, however, I have watched generational transfers of not just knowledge and assets but perseverance and innovation.

Agricultural knowledge is extraordinarily unique and is passed on primarily through family and personal relationships and experience. In addition to working personally with family and friends in dryland, irrigated row crop, and cattle and sheep operations, I have worked professionally in the purchase, sale, leasing, financing, structuring, succession, management, and operation of a variety of agricultural assets and operations of all sizes across the United States and Canada.

I am motivated to share what I have learned from my experience and those before me. I want to give back to agriculture just like agriculture has given to me and my family. I have been lucky to work with others with similar backgrounds, perspectives, values, and desires. A few of us found each other at the right time and formed Ag Solutions Capital. We hope that the combination and diversity of our knowledge and experience will promote the reliable advance of agricultural innovation and the valuable contributions of agriculture to our society and economy.

Todd Johnson

Todd Johnson

Founder

Like many of the Ag Solutions Capital’s team, I grew up in a family tied to the land. In my case, this connection was in the field of landscape architecture and ecological design. From my early youth, I had the privilege of joining my grandfather, a landscape architect and artist, on design visits to botanical gardens, marinas, corporate headquarters, and college campuses. This upbringing was the beginning of my passion for thoughtful design, development, and utilization of rural and urban lands for their highest and best uses.

While studying at Wheaton College, I developed an interest in agriculture leading me to take an immersive internship at a diversified farm. This experience gave me exposure to the many challenges and opportunities along the agricultural market value chain.

Following college, I was fortunate to continue to expand my agricultural interest and experience while developing investment skill at Resource Land Holdings (“RLH”), a leading private equity investment firm in natural resource real estate market. While also directing investments in timber and other non-agriculture asset types, my primary responsibility and focus was on RLH’s varied agriculture investments throughout the United States. For the last several years, as a founding partner at Avodah Capital Group, I have led sourcing and capitalization of industrial manufacturing, development land, retail, office, and other commercial real estate investments.

At both RLH and Avodah, creatively partnering with operators has been a key to unlocking and realizing value on investments. Through a career of partnering with the people, farmers, and operators that create value in their businesses and properties, I bring a deep value for relationships and an appreciation for the importance of aligning the goals and interests of operators, investors, lenders, and others. With Ag Solutions Capital, I enjoy working with our clients and partners to solve unique challenges with creative and innovative solutions.

Justin Ersch

Justin Ersch

Founder

From young age, I learned of the vast scope of risks and the creativity and innovation required to create sustainable success in production agriculture from my family’s dryland hay operation in Texas. This ethic was engrained into me during my development and is present in my approach today.

Subsequent to graduating from Baylor University in business I utilized the experiential knowledge from my youth in the real estate private equity space specializing in equity investments in agricultural land and operations and other resource based real estate investments. With extensive experience in capital structure optimization which balances the near-term profitability and long-term stability of an operation, I employ an ownership mentality in the key decisions that operators must make when deciding how to capitalize the opportunities presented to them.

In addition to Ag Solutions Capital, I am a member in an agricultural research operations business in which we manage test plots across the US corn belt for a global leader in agribusiness.

I am excited to work on multifaceted problems requiring complex innovative solutions collaboratively at Ag Solutions Capital with an extremely talented team with a diverse set of experiences.

Jeff Fagg

Jeff Fagg

Director of Credit

I was born and raised in the beautiful Walla Walla Valley of South Eastern Washington and took a keen interest in agriculture during my high school years. That took me to Washington State University where I ultimately graduated with an Ag Economics degree. Finance was my passion and that took me to the banking industry where I spent 13 years with Rainier National Bank, one of the industry’s largest ag banks. After cutting my teeth in commercial and ag lending, I took a position as Credit Manager for the rich Columbia Basin Region.

In 1991 I was presented with an opportunity to move to Northwest Farm Credit Services and help start an agri-business group focused on vertically integrated operations. The project was a roaring success, and our company went from virtually zero market share in the agri-business space to the market share leader across many commodity groups. Over a twenty year plus period I was responsible for booking over a billion dollars of relationships and got to observe and learn from the “who’s who” of agribusiness owners, managers and CFOs.

My portfolio at Northwest was heavy with vertically integrated tree fruit, potato, onion, vegetable and hop relationships. During my tenure at Northwest, I lead both the Tree Fruit and Row Crop Industry Teams.

As my customer list grew, I became much more active in the capital markets space, using participations and syndications to help my growth orientated customers. I enjoyed this experience and the opportunity to build relationships with other lenders through the United States.
In the Spring of 2018, I elected to retire early to open a consulting practice. Columbia Business Consultants, LLC has been a broad-based consulting practice that touched the areas of commodity industry analysis for investors, strategic planning, family business transition, business improvement and loan sourcing/lender negotiations. I particularly enjoyed the day-to-day variety of the practice and quickly realized that I was continuing to do what I did for 40 years in my banking career, helping clients achieve their goals and dreams.

I am excited to join the Ag Solutions team and am committed not only to the success of our group but also the success of our clients and investors.

Strategic Advisors

Charlie McElligott

Strategic Advisor

Charlie McElligott has skillfully worked the front-lines of ag finance as a respected banker and now as a strategic business consultant and advisor for more than 40 years. During his banking tenure, mostly with Rabo AgriFinance, Charlie managed the origination and administration of billions of dollars of ag loans throughout the Western United States while also managing related lines of business and banking offices. Charlie maintains broad and deep ag related relationships across a diversity of ag sectors throughout the United States. Charlie has a well-deserved reputation for being a practical, transparent, and relational banker, which reputation is serving Charlie well in his new consulting practice and will serve us well in the implementation our funds’ model.

Jon Halverson

Strategic Advisor

Jon Halverson has 25 years of experience in international business leadership, investment, development and strategy consulting including leadership roles with two of the world’s leading food and agriculture multinationals, Cargill and Land O’Lakes. At Cargill, Jon served as a Director of Mergers & Acquisitions in the Strategy & Business Development group. Over five years at Land O’Lakes, Jon accessed considerable development financing opportunities from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other development finance institutions. Jon currently is a partner at Talanton Advisors an Impact Investment Fund which focuses on impact investing, strategy development, innovative financing models and leadership development. Jon’s impressive involvement at all levels of agricultural operations is a valuable and welcome addition to us and our funds.

Phil Parrott

Strategic Advisor

Phil Parrott is an attorney and co-founder of Millennium Bridge Capital. As an attorney, Phil (a former partner of Kirkland and Ellis and current partner of Campbell, Killin, Brittan, and Ray), regularly works in private equity, acquisitions, financing, commercial transactions, real estate, bankruptcy and white-collar crime prosecution (Phil worked as Chief Deputy District Attorney in charge of the Economic Crime Unit of the Denver District Attorney’s office for ten years), defense and prevention. Phil’s legal experience includes the diligence, documentation, and administration (work-out and collection) of syndicated and non-syndicated ag loans. Phil has broad private equity experience and knowledge as a lawyer, manager, and co-founder. The combination of Phil’s law, finance, and private equity experience will provide an extraordinary benefit to us and our funds.

Ruth Verhoff

Strategic Advisor

Ruth Verhoff has enjoyed a 31-year career as a financial professional with an emphasis on the real estate industry.  She began her career at Columbia Pacific Management, a senior living industry focused private equity firm in Seattle.  She was eventually appointed president of that closely held investment firm, overseeing and managing $400 million of equity and assets worth $3.5 billion.  Ruth also oversaw the raise and deployment of $125 million in equity to expand operations for Columbia Pacific into South East Asia and India.  Over the past 14 years as an independent investor, and as a principal partner in a boutique investment group, Ruth has focused on single and multi-family development and repositioning.  Ruth takes an active leadership role in her community, serving as treasurer and board president for several nonprofit organizations.  Ruth has been married for 31 years and has two adult children. Ruth holds a CPA certificate; she received her B.S. in Finance and Accounting and holds an Executive Leadership MBA.  Ruth brings valuable investment and organizational leadership experience to our team and funds.