GRAND RAPIDS — A West Michigan investment company has completed the first in what it hopes to be a string of acquisitions of independent, regional seed producers.
In a deal that closed last week, Tillerman Seeds LLC of Grand Rapids acquired the assets of Dansville, Mich-based D.F. Seeds Inc., a 25-year-old independent supplier of soybeans and wheat. The company has a customer base of more than 400 farmers and specializes in varieties that grow well specifically in Michigan’s climate, as well as non-GMO seeds.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. DF Seeds President Chris Varner will continue in her position and run the company going forward.
Tillerman Seeds recruited investors from throughout Michigan to participate in the deal, including executives from the manufacturing and agribusiness sectors.
According to Tillerman Seeds CEO James Sheppard, this first deal serves as a proof of concept for the company’s business strategy.
“We see there’s a lot of independent, small, regional seed companies out there that maybe have an owner looking for liquidity or maybe getting close to retirement,” Sheppard told MiBiz in an exclusive interview. “They want to preserve their jobs for their people, they want to preserve their legacy. They don’t want to go through where they sell and there’s a roll-up with the company and everything changes.”
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