(UPDATED COVERAGE, Jan. 15) Owners of Grant Family Farms missed a Jan. 11 deadline to file a list of creditors and debts in the farm’s multi-million bankruptcy case, saying there was too much paperwork to get the job done on time.
On Jan. 15, Andy Grant requested a four-day extension, which Judge A. Bruce Campbell granted, making the documents due at the end of the day.
The judge has not yet ruled on a request from one creditor, Localization Partners, Boulder, Colo., which asked for an expedited hearing on whether it can have the perishable crops the farm has in storage to repay part of a $1.5 million loan.
The lender said the bankruptcy trustee assigned to the case does not object to the judge allowing Localization Partners to take possession of the harvested crops immediately. Localization Partners asked for the original Jan. 31 hearing date regarding the crops to be moved up because of the perishable nature of the asset.
Grant Family Farms, Wellington, Colo., filed for bankruptcy in December. The farm is was one of Colorado’s first certified organic operations, according to the farm’s website. It was also a Community Supported Agriculture farm.
Meg Bucklin, the CSA coordinator for the farm, told The Coloradoan newspaper it had about 4,500 members, making it the second-largest CSA farm in the U.S.
Localization Partners contends the farm has beets, onions, squash, potatoes and other perishables worth $100,000. The lending company also said the farm has 26,000 bushels of corn worth $112,000.
The company wants the perishables now before they lose value. It also wants the winter crops that are growing, including spinach and wheat, citing a value of $300,000 at harvest.
Court documents show that Andy Grant, president and second-generation owner of Grant Family Farms, signed a deal in June for $1.5 million with Localization Partners. The note was due Dec. 15.
A hearing on Localization Partners’ request for the crops is set for Jan. 31. However, founder Michael Brownlee said Jan. 10 that their attorney met with the bankruptcy trustee that day to request an earlier hearing.
Brownlee said he could not provide many details, but he said Grant first met with Localization Partners in March. He said the farm was out of money and was not going to be able to provide the produce its CSA members had already paid for.
“We knew that would be a terrible blow, so we set up the arrangement and the CSA members got 25 of the 26 weeks (of produce) they had paid for,” Brownlee said, adding that he believes the Grants’ 2,000 plus acres would remain in organic production.
“While the story has the appearance of being very sad now, when the final story is told it will be good news for the Colorado front range. The land won’t revert to conventional. It will be operating stronger than ever, unfortunately without the Grant family.”
The Chapter 7 filing estimates $1 million to $10 million is owed to creditors numbering from 200 to 999. It states the farm’s assets are between $500,000 and $1 million.
A meeting of creditors is scheduled for Jan. 22 at the Larimer Colorado Courthouse.
Grant’s attorney, Lee Kutner, confirmed that the 61-year-old farm has ceased operations.
Grant posted a statement on the farm’s Facebook page, saying he is “hesitant to offer any specifics with regard to tomorrow … beyond Chapter 7, nothing is set in stone — and it is important to the farm that it doesn’t churn the cogs in the rumor mill.”
In April 2006, the farm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. That case was jointly administered with a Chapter 11 filing by Fattoria Accaparanno LLC, Wellington, Colo. Andy Grant was president for Fattoria Accaparanno LLC. The judge in that case stated the two companies operated as a single entity and their customers knew them as Grant Family Farms.
That case was terminated in September 2009 and designated “discharge not applicable.” Debts in that case were also estimated from $1 million to $10 million.