Ames, Iowa — Dryland Genetics continues their expansion, appointing John Manuel as their new Chief Commercial Officer. Dryland Genetics is increasing the sustainability and resilience of the global food supply through their high-yielding proso millet varieties which can produce twice as much grain per gallon of water as dryland corn. Manuel brings more than 16 years of experience in the food ingredient business to the growing company. He has a track record with major food and agriculture companies in commodities trading, supply chain management and strategy and business development.
“When I first visited the facility in Ames, and saw what Dryland was doing, I was sold. Dryland Genetics has significantly increased the yield on one of the most water-efficient crops in the world. I truly believe we can change the landscape of sustainable agriculture,” said Manuel who most recently served as the Senior Director of Strategy and Business Development for Miller Milling. Prior to that he worked at General Mills and James B. Joiner Company.
“Talking to consumers and food processors there is a lot of excitement about new ingredients that can increase the sustainability of agriculture,” said Dr. James Schnable, one of Dryland Genetics’ founders, and a board member. “John brings the expertise and connections to move proso millet from our growers’ fields, to food processors and into grocery stores. I think people will be excited to see the big water savings of proso millet when it becomes available in their choices at the grocery store. That could take the form of an egg from a chicken raised on proso millet or a granola bar or a new sustainable green food category entirely.”
Manuel’s hire at Dryland Genetics is one of several supported by a recent $3.8M fundraising round led by Next Level Ventures and Stine Seed Farm. Proso millet uses the least amount of water for any crop per calorie produced. And it can effectively replace up to 100% of the corn in pig and chicken feed. Having developed new varieties of proso millet which increase yields 10- 40% while reducing water usage, the company is now working to expand the use of proso millet by both sustainable food processing companies and livestock producers. “Dryland Genetics is perfectly positioned to bring value to the food and feed industries,” said Roger Underwood, an early investor and board member.
“I am thrilled to be able to focus my efforts on growing demand for a truly sustainable agricultural product, which will help to solve one of agriculture’s most urgent issues, water conservation,” said Manuel.