ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, US — Perdue AgriBusiness, an independent operating company of Perdue Farms Inc., has reached an agreement to sell its Lothian, Maryland, US, elevator to Anne Arundel County for $1.25 million. The parties will have 90 days from signing of the contract, announced March 21, to close the deal.

Once purchased, the county expects to lease the facility to an experienced elevator operator and then work with Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) on plans for additional agriculture support services at the site, such as composting, a mill or other uses.

Perdue first announced its intent to close the elevator in January 2021 but later agreed to continue operating the facility for at least two more years until a suitable buyer could be found. Perdue has operated the Lothian facility in southern Maryland since 2002 but noted the county has seen an appreciable reduction in farmland and grain acres in the past two decades.

“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, chief executive officer, Perdue Farms. “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 20 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 (Wes) 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.”

The southern Maryland area, which includes Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Charles, St. Mary's and Calvert counties, produces corn, soybeans and wheat. The Lothian elevator has a licensed storage capacity of 995,000 bushels, and receives and loads grain by truck with a loadout capacity of 2,500 bushels per hour, according to Sosland Publishing Co.’s 2023 Grain & Milling Annual.

The county will conduct an environmental assessment and appraisal, and seek county council approval for the purchase. The state’s fiscal year 2024 proposed budget includes funding to reimburse the county for the purchase and initial capital needs.

“I want to thank all who were involved in the discussions to keep this grain elevator in Lothian,” said Maryland Agriculture 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.”

Perdue AgriBusiness is a merchandiser, processor and exporter of agricultural products. Through Perdue AgriBusiness’ 75 elevator locations with more than 75 million bushels of storage, deep-water port, transload facilities, oilseed crushing operations, edible oil refinery, and protein blend mills, the company serves markets across the United States and the world.