USA- Perdue AgriBusiness has agreed to divest its Lothian, Maryland elevator to Anne Arundel County for US$1.25 million and the parties will have 90 days from the signing of the contract, announced on March 21, to close the deal.
An independent operating company of Perdue Farms Inc., Perdue AgriBusiness is a merchandiser, processor, and exporter of agricultural products, serving markets across the USA and the world.
It has 75 elevator locations with about 75 million bushels of storage, a deep-water port, transportation facilities, oilseed crushing operations, an edible oil refinery, and protein blend mills.
Anne Arundel County expects to lease the facility to an experienced elevator operator and work with Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) on plans for additional agriculture support services at the site, such as composting, a mill, or other uses.
Perdue has intended to close the elevator since January 2021 but decided to continue operating the facility for at least two more years until they could find a suitable buyer.
Perdue has operated the Lothian facility since 2002. However, the county has seen an appreciable reduction in farmland and grain acres in the past two decades, prompting the grain elevator to reiterate its decision to get rid of the Lothian facility.
“While the Lothian facility has been a critical part of the Southern Maryland agricultural community most recently stewarded by Perdue, there has been a significant reduction in farmland and a dramatic reduction in total harvested grain acres over the last 20 years, leading our company to shift its business strategy in the area,” said Randy Day, CEO Perdue Farms.
Perdue commented that it cared about the role that the Lothian facility played in Southern Maryland, where the main produce includes corn, soybeans, and wheat, and that is why it had agreed to continue operating the facility for two years awaiting a suitable buyer.
“We appreciate the Maryland General Assembly and Governor (Wes) Moore’s collaboration with Anne Arundel County during this process. We think that this transaction is a win for local farmers, and we are glad we agreed,” Perdue remarked.
Anne Arundel County will now conduct an environmental assessment and seek county council approval for the purchase.
“I want to thank all who were involved in the discussions to keep this grain elevator in Lothian. Southern Maryland is a major part of Delmarva’s poultry industry; keeping this grain elevator open for Southern Maryland farmers to access is vital to the Maryland ag community,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks.
The state’s fiscal year 2024 proposed budget includes funding to reimburse the county for the purchase and initial capital needs.