We must learn to mould the land so that nature and people can both thrive.

-Richard Forman, professor of landscape ecology, Harvard

Tallgrass Restoration

Tallgrass Land Conservation Key Team Members


Peter Layton is the CEO of The Tallgrass Group, the parent company of various corporations specializing in different aspects of ecological restoration.  In 2008, Mr. Layton established Tallgrass Land Conservation for the purpose of creating wetland mitigation banks. He is also one of the founding partners of Blackthorne Capital Management and is the owner of Warhawk Fund.  Mr. Layton serves as the Chairman of the BOX Exchange Group, LLC and is a partner of Efficient Capital Management.
Mr. Layton was a partner at both The Hull Group and Goldman Sachs & Co. from where he retired in 2005.  Mr. Layton is also the former President of Chicago Wilderness Trust, a Board member of Enactus, a member of Efficient Capital Management Advisory Committee, a member of the College Visiting Committee at the University of Chicago, and a member of the Nicholas School Board of Visitors at Duke University. Mr. Layton graduated from the University of Chicago with an AB in economics and an MBA in finance.

 Mitch Kasper joined the Tallgrass team in 2015 to promote business development and property acquisition efforts.  Mr. Kasper has been investing in agricultural assets since 2003. Through the years, he has built a strong national network of agribusiness professionals, including brokers, operators, lawyers, and accountants. After many one-off farm transactions, Mr. Kasper established Midwest Ag Investors in 2009 and National Ag Investors in 2012. Combined, these funds owned farmland valued at over $12M.

Mr. Kasper has contributed his thoughts on agri-business to many national publications including WSJ-Market Watch, Crain’s Chicago Business, and The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania. From 1991 to 1999, he worked at The Hull Group as a derivatives trader, where he was a partner. In 1999, The Hull Group was acquired by Goldman Sachs. Mitch worked in the Equity Division of Goldman Sachs until 2003. He served as Chairman of the Chicago Board Options Exchange Index Committee which regulated the most active products on the exchange. From 2005-2008, Mr. Kasper served on the Quest Academy Board of Trustees, a school dedicated to educating gifted children. Mr. Kasper has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago.


Tracy Thompson specializes in developing support systems for start-up ventures and has been part of the Tallgrass family since 2004 with the launch of Tallgrass Restoration, a leading provider of ecological restoration services. At Tallgrass Restoration she developed and implemented comprehensive client service and business development systems which effectively positioned the company to take advantage of growth opportunities. With a lifetime in nature’s classroom and formal education in both Business Administration and the Culinary Arts, Ms. Thompson’s focus is building collaboration among teams in order to positively affect the environment through sustainable land preservation and food production practices. In her role today as Director of Operations with Tallgrass Land Conservation, she builds upon prior natural area preservation experience with a focus on wetland mitigation banking. Additionally, as a small-scale sustainable farmer, she practices and locally educates others about natural and sustainable methods for growing vegetables and livestock. 
Ms. Thompson has contributed her thoughts about healthcare coverage issues on small-business in Crain’s Chicago Business as well as farm to table concepts in the Janesville Gazette.  She holds a BS in Business Administration from Devry University, Chicago and a Culinary degree from Kendall College, Chicago.
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