Walter P. Rawl & Sons Expands Business

Pelion, SC.; January, 15 2010 Walter P. Rawl & Sons, Inc. (WP Rawl) of Pelion, SC recently acquired a majority ownership stake in Mississippi Sweet Corn Producers, Inc. (MSCP), of Indianola, MS. The acquisition more than doubles WP Rawls current sweet corn volume.

Effective December 31, 2009, WP Rawl assumed the controlling interest of the vertically integrated, Mississippi Delta grower/shipper that specializes in the production of sweet corn. The original stakeholders, all growers and landholders of MSCP will remain actively involved in the business continuing to grow sweet corn and expand into year round vegetable crops.

Ashley Rawl, Director of Sales & Marketing at WP Rawl commented, As growers at heart, we are eager to partner with MSCP and help grow crops from some of the most fertile land in the U.S. The combined knowledge of these traditional row crop farmers, along with our nearly 90 years of experience as vegetable producers, makes this new business merger an exciting opportunity for all.

As part of the new agreement, MSCP will continue to grow sweet corn, while diversifying into year-round crops including a variety of leafy greens, cilantro and green onions. The MSCP staff will remain in their current positions, with sales, marketing and accounting functions being transferred to the South Carolina offices of WP Rawl.

The Mississippi Delta has been an often overlooked growing area and we saw an opportunity. Its rich soils and proximity to major markets are positioning this region for an agricultural resurgence, in a time of sustainable marketing when consumers are thinking about things like food miles. Our geographic proximity to Midwest and West Coast markets gives us an advantage over other major production regions during the same growing window, remarked Rawl.

The business transaction, facilitated by agribusiness investment bank, AgriCapital Corporation of New York, NY allowed MSCPs majority equity holder to work with AgriCapital to find a strategic partner that would help expand their existing business through increased resources in sales, marketing, production and funding.

Matt Gruber, Chairman of MSCP concluded, “We worked hard to build our existing business with a strong base in sweet corn. Like many organizations we wanted to grow and expand into a more efficient year-round operation by including leafy greens and specialty crops. We believe that WP Rawl meets our core needs in a strategic partner based on their growing experience, marketing skills and financial strength.

Currently marketed as Delta Harvest, WP Rawl will begin marketing bulk and club pack yellow, white and bi-color sweet corn from Indianola starting in June with the new crop. The season runs through July. The first greens will be available in April of 2010.

Source: Walter P Rawl & Sons