Lending Successful

Financing Payments To 2023 Grain Farmers

by Cairnspring Mills
Financing Payments To 2023 Grain Farmers

This loan will be used to purchase the 2023-fall harvested grain from Cairnspring's network of local farmers committed to soil health.

Project Summary
  • Location: Burlington, WA
  • Products: Grain Value added/CPG
  • Loan Term: 12 months
  • Net Interest Rate: 8.50% APR
  • Repayments Begin: 1 month after disbursement
100% of $2,800,000

Funded on 11/20/2023



Cairnspring Mills is a one-of-a-kind craft flour mill in Washington’s Skagit Valley that sources from regenerative grain farmers throughout the Pacific Northwest to produce naturally nutritious, high-quality flour at a regional scale. Cairnspring’s market includes direct-to-consumer, retail bakeries, and wholesale food businesses. Their customer base is outspoken about their support of the mill because the benefits to this agricultural community are so tangible: new quality jobs, higher margins for local farmers, and better flavors in every kitchen.

Cairnspring’s mission is to spark a global movement to build regenerative food systems that lift farmers out of a commodity system and nourish the world with clean, healthy, flavorful grains and flour. Cairnspring Mills is working to:

  • Create solutions to keep local farmers financially-viable as they face growing pressure of urbanization and are often forced by the commodity grain system into a race to the bottom;

  • Preserve the unique agricultural heritage of the Skagit Valley and build amazing products from grain produced in the Pacific Northwest;

  • Shorten the distance between farmer and customer for a commodity crop like wheat;

  • And build soil health and conserve farmland.

Use of Funds

Every December, Cairnspring Mills purchases its entire supply of grain for the year from its network of contracted farmers. Given the amount of capital needed to pay farmers in a timely manner, Cairnspring uses debt financing to make this end-of-year purchase. Over the course of the year, as they sell the flour produced in the mill, they pay down this obligation. In the Summer of 2023, Steward refinanced their existing grain note through Steward Regenerative Capital. As this loan is fully paid down, this new loan will take its place. The funds from this participated loan will be used to purchase 2023's grain from the mill's network of contacted farmers. A portion of this loan will be funded by Steward Regenerative Capital.

Regenerative & Sustainable Practices

“Buying a loaf of Tartine Bakery’s bread is nothing less than a pilgrimage,” writes The San Francisco Chronicle. For Tartine in California, and many bakeries up in the PNW, that pilgrimage actually begins with the farms and flour mill at Cairnspring:

  • Cairnspring’s process yields a higher-quality, more nutrient dense, and naturally nutritious food source by incorporating the natural germ and bran of the wheat berries, which are stripped away in the industrial flour milling process;

  • Sourcing from local, regenerative family farms invests in the local economy and the health of the land;

  • Cairnspring's farmers work collaboratively throughout the Skagit Valley to ensure proper ecological stewardship and prioritization of soil health;

  • Cairnspring farmers earn almost double the industry average for their higher quality identity-preserved grains, yielding more margin and livable wages.

  • You can learn more about the impact that Cairnspring is having on regenerating the Pacific Northwest Food System by visiting their website, cairnspring.com.

This loan will be made to Northwest Mills and Specialty Grains (DBA Cairnspring Mills), a Washington State Special Purpose Corporation, which stone-mills regenerative wheat into flour.

This loan will be used to purchase all of the grain needed for processing in 2024 from Cairnspring’s grower network. Throughout the following year, they will then pay down the balance of this loan from monthly flour sales.The total loan amount is $2,800,000.00 which will assist Cairnspring Mills in growing and expanding their business.

This is a secured loan with a first lien on all business assets, subject only to an SBA EIDL loan with a current balance of $66,231. This includes the grain inventory they will purchase with this loan (both raw and finished), along with cash, accounts receivable, equipment, and other business assets. This loan is set at a 9% interest rate for the borrower, net interest rate 8.5% for lenders, with a 12 month term, and fully amortized monthly payments beginning 1 months after funds are disbursed.



Steward Underwriting Analysis Download

Join the Steward Newsletter

Get project announcements, farmer introductions, company updates, and more by subscribing to the Steward newsletter. Join our growing community of people who are making regenerative agriculture the foundation of our future.

Become a Steward Lender

Join a growing community of sustainably-minded lenders reaping the rewards from responsible farming