Officials from the Department of Agriculture and Forestry and Concordia Bank & Trust Company are taking inventory and examining the financials at Lakeland Grain Company in Winnsboro, said Wade Iverstine, with Kean, Miller LLP of Baton Rouge, who represents the elevator.
The State Department of Agriculture and Forestry is expected to place the elevator in receivership to insure that, if necessary, the State’s Cotton and Grain Indemnity Fund will be available to pay farmers. Lakeland’s principals are in full cooperation with Commissioner Mike Strain and Concordia Bank & Trust Company, Iverstine said.
In law, receivership is a situation in which an institution or enterprise is held by a person placed in custodial responsibility for the property of others, including tangible and intangible assets and rights. Many times, receivership happens when a company cannot meet financial obligations.
The situation emerged as a result of tariffs that have upended commodity prices this year, which exacerbated Lakeland Grain Company’s financial struggles, Iverstine said.
“The bank has been very cooperative,” Iverstine said. “This is the effect of tariffs that created unexpected prices for fall grain deliveries at an elevator that has struggled for years.”
The late Al Ater purchased the business from Winnsboro Elevator Inc. in 2014 and made $2.5 million worth of improvements. Improvements included additional scales, a grade shack and the complete reconfiguration of drives helping the flow of traffic going in and out of La. Hwy 15.
Ater passed away n 2017 at 63 after a lengthy battle with cancer.