By SHELLY STRAUTZ-SPRINGBORN
ZEELAND, Mich. — A southwestern Michigan cash crop farm has submitted a bid to purchase the assets of Stamp Farms and its related businesses for $22.8 million.
According to court documents, Dennis Boersen of Boersen Farms, Inc. in Zeeland submitted the purchase agreement on Jan. 16. This action sets the bar so that other bidders cannot low-ball the purchase price on a bankrupt company’s assets. Boersen could not be reached for comment.
Stamp Farms, in the rural community of Decatur, Mich., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief Nov. 30, 2012. Its entities include Stamp Farms, LLC; Stamp Farms Trucking, LLC; Stamp Farms Custom AG, LLC; and Royal Star Farms, LLC.
According to the business website, Stamp Farms began in 1968 with 168 acres of farmland. Since 1997, it has grown to more than 20,000 acres and spans six southwestern Michigan counties. Court records from U.S. Bankruptcy Court Western District of Michigan list the farm’s assets at $10 million-$50 million and its liabilities at $50 million-$100 million. The estimated number of creditors is between 200-999.
The bid outlines potential sale terms. It states the purchase and sale of assets would include land leases, personal property, inventory, intangible assets and fertility records. It is up to the court to determine if the sale will be accepted.
If this bid, or another one on the entire operation, is not accepted, the components of the entity could be sold individually.
The bid also states the closing date of the deal would be no later than Feb. 15; however, “the outside date may be extended upon mutual agreement of purchaser and sellers.” The agreement also allows for termination of the deal if conditions of the bid are not satisfied.
According to bankruptcy documents, the top 20 creditors are owed a combined $5.7 million.
Monsanto Co. is the creditor holding the largest unsecured claim, which totals more than $3.9 million.
The remaining top 20 unsecured claims, in descending order, include Mitchell family of Stevensville, $780,200; Lee Franz of Dowagiac, $123,200; PHI Financial Services of Dallas, Texas, $91,917.95; Koviak Irrigation & Farm Service, of Three Rivers, $90,962.51; John Krohne of Dowagiac, $82,500; PriMar Petroleum of Bangor, $78,589.89; Gary Barner of South Haven, $66,500; Stan Weinberg of Scotts, $62,480; Gary Cooper Trucking, Inc. of Quincy, $52,145.91;
B&M Crop Consulting of Coldwater, $44,903.93; Edward Boyer, of Union $41,912.50; Amerigas-Hartford of Pittsburgh, Pa., $41,099.22; Everett Pifer of Bangor, $41,000; Ronald Gless of Cassopolis, $40,341.25; Jerry Zordan of Bangor, $30,135; Phil Oswalt of Fulton, $26,450; Agri-Nutrient Application of Wyoming, $24,643; DuRussel Insurance of Bay City, $24,587.97; and Dave Adent of Ogden Dunes, Ind., $24,120.
In addition, hundreds of farm landlords are named. Further action on the case is expected by mid-February.