Helping agricultural enterprises, rural resource-based communities, and urban markets solve business-level and system-wide challenges.
We are a small team of problem-solvers, innovators, and experts who have a passion for agriculture, food, and forestry. Our dedicated team has broad experience and knowledge in these sectors, which makes us well-suited to work with agribusinesses, rural communities, and urban markets.
Established in 2003
ACDS, LLC was formally established in 2003 as an outgrowth of Agricultural and Community Development Services, Inc. (Founded in 1997). ACDS maintains a robust national and international practice around its core business areas of rural economic development, resource-based industry management, and small and mid-sized business formation. ACDS™s principals, Philip Gottwals and Anna Jensen, bring a strong and diverse background to the business as well as extensive experience in all aspects of agribusiness development, planning, and policy.
How We Help
Positioned at the intersection of rural, resource-based communities and urban markets, we bring a unique perspective and expertise to the challenges and opportunities of an ever-changing food system. We work at varying scales from individual agricultural enterprises to local economies in rural communities and terminal markets at the edge of urban markets.
The ACDS process is client-centric. We incorporate robust community engagement to ensure that strategies developed are technically feasible and understood and supported by the communities they affect.
Our clients include state and local governments, privately held businesses, regional and local development organizations, and agricultural cooperatives.
Our intent is to leave behind actionable strategies and institutional capacity delivered as part of every project.
Why Clients Choose Us
Our consultants bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from a wide range of industries and disciplines that enable the team to tackle a broad range of issues. We augment this with our industry and academic networks for project-specific expertise.
Meet the Team
Food & Beverage Consulting
We lead clients through the nuances of a changing marketplace. Trends in consumer preferences and nutrition advice change rapidly. To thrive, agricultural, food, and beverage enterprises must stay current and quickly adapt to market conditions. ACDS supports companies through these decisions while still running day-to-day operations.
Get Fresh Ideas
Companies can tap our expertise to get a handle on the future of their businesses and respond productively. With an updated understanding of its customer base and industry trends, we assist clients with the necessary changes, such as developing new products, improving productivity, locating new markets, or looking inward at its governance and structure.
We walk our clients through the processes of product development and market launch. Comprehensive services include market research, supply chain analysis, input/output modeling, strategic planning, brand creation, market valuation, price structuring, and channel selection. As tools are developed, a business may find that its mission and vision also need refining. We are ready and able to help with that process and everything that follows from it.
Business Planning, Strategy, and Execution
Development of business models, management plans, marketing plans, demand forecasts, site and facility requirements, and financial plans that include cost, revenue, cash flow analyses, and financial sources-and-uses statements. ACDS business plans have been implemented in the US and internationally, with a leveraged economic impact of over $3 billion in value
Food System Development
Our staff has deep institutional knowledge of the food supply chain, operational flows of food processing, refrigeration, and cold storage mechanics, trucking and transportation issues, and food safety laws. In addition to in-house expertise, the firm has a close working relationship with food processing engineering firms and many other subject area specialists who are available to meet any project’s needs.
Building for Resiliency
Well-functioning markets are a critical link in resilient urban food systems. We are driven to improve shipping point and terminal markets' efficiency, transparency, and effectiveness. We also support the resiliency and diversity of member businesses to better weather a wide range of supply chain disruptions. Our team provides expert guidance on the use of innovative practices and technology to prepare these market systems for the future.
Supply Chain Analytics
We help public and private clients by delivering an array of analytical services and products. These can include market analysis, site analysis, board training, strategic planning, food safety program evaluation, technology analysis, and product line evaluation to ensure that markets of any scale are equipped with what they need to adapt and grow.
Business Planning, Strategy, and Execution
We assist with developing business models, management plans, marketing plans, demand forecasts, site and facility requirements, and financial plans that include cost, revenue, cash flow analyses, and sources-and-use statements.
Food system development projects are all unique. Site characteristics are driven by a complex and nuanced set of needs, each impacting both the design program and site selection. Our expertise enables us to guide our clients through this discovery process.
Rural Economic Development
Understanding the Community
Rural counties and towns understand that agriculture and other resource-based industries are the foundation of their economies. These sectors face unique challenges not shared by other forms of economic activity. Thus, they need specialized expertise and a deep understanding of the complex interplay among business needs, land use issues, and family and community values.
The Right Strategies
ACDS supports governments and non-profits with years of expertise in the field of agricultural economic development. We are aware of the vulnerability of the land base on which these industries depend. We work closely with businesses to develop appropriate responses to economic and community issues arising from these industries' particular complexities.
Whether it is economic development, farmland protection planning, demographic analysis, input/output modeling, or developing adaptive reuse plans for existing properties, we are in tune with the unique integration of resource-based industries with the communities in which they exist.
Capacity Building and Project Execution
We help our clients build work programs that increase the capacity of local leaders to spearhead economic change. Our ongoing services are instrumental in building the framework for long-term success with fundraising, grant writing, leadership development, project management, and benchmarking.