PARKSLEY, VIRGINIA, US — Virginia’s last independent grain dealer, Associated Grain, has sold its operation to Perdue AgriBusiness, theShore Daily Newsreported.

Associated Farms, which is in its 100th year in business, operates two grain elevators with a capacity of 1.2 million bushels. 

The company, which was founded in 1921 by James Middleton and William Lewis, was originally a broker of vegetable produce. In the 1940s, the company shifted its focus to the grain and poultry industries and eventually became known as Associated Grain.

“When mom and pops (businesses) go away, it changes things, which is OK, but it’s why I’ve put off selling to corporate America,” Richard Lewis, a third-generation owner of Associated Grain, told theShore Daily News. “I just knew this was the right time and my family and I felt like it was the right time personally. The industry is changing greatly and quickly, making it harder for small businesses like Associated Grain to stay afloat. We are excited for Associated’s future and thank Perdue for the opportunity to partner with them.”

The addition of the Associated Farms elevators would bring Perdue Agribusiness’ overall storage capacity to 84.2 million bushels, which would rank 19th in the United States, according to Sosland Publishing Co.’s2021 Grain & Milling Annual.

Earlier this year, Perdue AgriBusiness announced plans to close its grain elevator in Lothian, Maryland, US, but several weeks later said it planned to keep the facility open for at least two more years as it attempts to find a buyer.