Parties have 90 days from signing to close the $1.25 million deal
Annapolis, MD (March 21, 2023) County Executive Steuart Pittman announced that the county signed a contract to purchase the Lothian Grain Elevator from Perdue. Parties have 90 days from signing to close the $1.25 million deal.
“I want to thank Senator Elfreth for convening the group that gave me the confidence to take this major step forward in support of Southern Maryland agriculture, MDA Secretary Kevin Atticks for immediately seeing the potential of this opportunity and bringing it to the Moore administration, the Maryland General Assembly and Governor Moore for acting quickly to support Southern Maryland agriculture in its time of need, and Perdue CEO Randy Day for allowing time for this collaboration to happen,” said County Executive Steuart Pittman. “In a very short timeframe, we concluded that this facility could and should support local farms for many decades into the future. Once purchased, we expect to lease the facility to an experienced elevator operator, and then to work with SMADC on plans for additional agriculture support services at the site, such as composting, a mill, or other uses.”
The county will conduct an environmental assessment, appraisal, and seek County Council approval. The state’s FY24 proposed budget includes funding to reimburse the county for the purchase and initial capital needs.
Perdue first announced its intent to close the elevator in January 2021. After speaking with local farmers who depend on the facility to purchase their crops, County Executive Pittman expressed concern publicly and spoke privately to Perdue CEO Randy Day about delaying the closure to allow time for a new owner to step in and continue operations there.
Since that time, Senator Sarah Elfreth convened stakeholders from Anne Arundel, St. Mary’s, Calvert, and Charles Counties, Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), Maryland Department of Agriculture, and Anne Arundel Farm Bureau to discuss transfer of the facility to a public entity with state financial assistance.
"The Lothian grain elevator is essential infrastructure for our Southern Maryland and Anne Arundel County farmers,” said Senator Sarah Elfreth.” State funding and county leadership to save the grain elevator was truly a team effort, and I'm thrilled that the General Assembly and Governor could lend a hand to support our thriving ag community."
“I want to thank all who were involved in the discussions to keep this grain elevator in Lothian,” said MDA Secretary Kevin Atticks. “Southern Maryland is a major part of the Delmarva's poultry industry; keeping this grain elevator open for Southern Maryland farmers to access is vital to the Maryland ag community.”
“As a 103-year-old Maryland company heavily invested in and dedicated to agriculture, supporting our local farmers is very important to us,” said Randy Day, Perdue CEO. “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 twenty years, leading our company to shift its business strategy in the area. While Perdue announced its intention to close the facility in response to these changes, we remained committed to keeping the facility open while finding a suitable buyer. We appreciate the Maryland General Assembly and Governor 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 were able to come to an agreement.”
“I would like to thank County Executive Pittman and the legislative delegation for taking the action to secure the grain elevator in Lothian to support our local farmers. Also for Governor Moore’s support to make this a reality,” said Calvert County Commissioner and former Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Earl “Buddy” Hance. “Now farmers will have the information they need to make spring planting decisions.”
"SMADC is excited to see that the Lothian Grain Elevator will remain in operation for our Southern Maryland farmers," said SMADC Director Shelby Watson-Hampton, "We are looking forward to being involved in the new value-added agricultural innovation potential that the site has. We want to thank Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, Senator Sarah Elfreth, Perdue, and all the other local and statewide partners that made this possible. It is a much-needed investment for the future of agriculture in the region."