Jun 14, 2021
Michigan blueberry orchard and facilities purchased

Gladstone Land Corp. announced June 10 that it has acquired 930 gross acres of farmland, including approximately 480 acres of blueberry bushes, and support facilities located in Paw Paw, Michigan, for $13.3 million.

The facilities include a 23,000-square-foot cooling and packing plant, a 9,000-square-foot box barn,and a blueberry retail store for selling fruit from the farm directly to vendors and consumers. In connection with the acquisition, Gladstone Land entered into a 15-year, triple-net lease agreement with Berry Brothers, a family-owned farming company with local blueberry operations in Holland, Michigan, and three other states.

“This acquisition was a great opportunity to acquire a highly desirable blueberry farm for our grower-partner and to expand our portfolio in Michigan,” said Joseph Van Wingerden, director at Gladstone Land. “The large cooling and packing facility is essential to the local blueberry operations. We continue to be very optimistic about the 2021 blueberry season and the ongoing strength of fruit and produce sales across the United States.”

“We are very excited to make our largest acquisition to date in the state of Michigan,” said David Gladstone, president and CEO of Gladstone Land. “This purchase also highlights our ability to acquire farmland for our growers across the country to help expand and diversify their growing season. We hope to continue our steady acquisition growth during the second half of 2021, although I wouldn’t count on us continuing at the same recent pace of three acquisitions within seven days.”

Berry Bros. buys into Leduc Blueberry Farm

On its website, Berry Brothers stated it has  “recently purchased the Leduc Blueberry farm.”

“The Leduc’s have farmed this land for 68 years and they leave a great legacy behind. Read more about their journey, here.

“Mark and Heidi Keister are the retail managers and have partnered with the Berry Brothers in continuing to bring you the best blueberries, baked goods, and retail products that customers have learned to expect with the Leduc’s.

Mark and Heidi along with their daughters and their families have been born and raised in the Paw Paw area and are proud to be carrying on the legacy of the Leduc family.

“Mark has been a concrete contractor in southwest Michigan for over 30 years, while Heidi has poured her passion for serving people into her local cafe, The Outpouring . Together they serve their community of Paw Paw through their ministry at Outpouring of Hope, a nonprofit organization that strives to encourage people with living a life full of hope. They also are founders of Rilynn Rose Candles, which was created to help children and their families who are in need of a life-saving organ transplant.

“We look forward to continuing to serve our community here at Berry Brothers Retail.”

Leduc operation focuses on strawberries

The Leduc family made the following announcement on its Facebook page in April:

“Since 1955, our family has had the pleasure of serving southwest Michigan growing quality fruit for a wonderful community. For years we have been able to be part of your summer traditions and watch you share those moments from generation to generation.

This past year not only brought the passing of Roger and Jackie Leduc, the visionaries, and founders of Leduc Blueberries, but it also brought an entirely new perspective for our family as Joe waited months for a lifesaving heart transplant.

As our family experienced the ultimate gift, a new lease on life, we also gained a fresh perspective that brought reevaluation. After careful consideration we have decided to transfer ownership of our blueberry farm. The new owners plan to keep both the retail locations open and carry on our devotion to this community. Our family will still maintain the ownership of the strawberry farm.

Gladstone a big player in the industry

Founded in 1997, Gladstone Land is a publicly traded real estate investment trust that acquires and owns farmland and farm-related properties located in major agricultural markets in the U.S. and leases its properties to unrelated third-party farmers.

The company, which reports the aggregate fair value of its farmland holdings on a quarterly basis, currently owns 152 farms, comprised of over 105,000 acres in 14 different states and over 20,000 acre-feet of banked water in California, valued at over $1.2 billion. Gladstone Land’s farms are predominantly located in regions where its tenants are able to grow fresh produce annual row crops, such as berries and vegetables, which are generally planted and harvested annually.

The company also owns farms growing permanent crops, such as almonds, apples, cherries, figs, lemons, olives, pistachios, and other orchards, as well as blueberry groves and vineyards, which are generally planted every 10 to 20-plus years and harvested annually. The company may also acquire property related to farming, such as cooling facilities, processing buildings, packaging facilities, and distribution centers.

The company pays monthly distributions to its stockholders and has paid 100 consecutive monthly cash distributions on its common stock since its initial public offering in January 2013. The Company has increased its common distributions 22 times over the prior 26 quarters, and the current per-share distribution on its common stock is $0.045 per month, or $0.54 per year.

Additional information, including detailed information about each of the company’s farms, can be found here.

Gary Pullano, FGN Editor




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