Rawl buys interest in Mississippi corn growing operation

01/15/2010 11:59:22 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

A South Carolina-based leafy greens and vegetables grower-shipper is boosting its sweet corn volume by purchasing a Mississippi-based corn growing operation.


Walter P. Rawl & Sons Inc., Pelion, S.C., acquired a majority ownership stake in Mississippi Sweet Corn Producers Inc., Indianola, Miss.

The acquisition happened Dec. 31, but Rawl did not announce it until mid-January. The move more than doubles Rawl’s sweet corn volume, according to a news release from the company.

According to the deal, Mississippi Sweet Corn Producers plans to continue growing corn and diversify into other year-round crops such as a variety of leafy greens, cilantro and green onions.  

The sweet corn company’s sales, marketing and accounting functions will be transferred to Rawl’s South Carolina offices.  

Rawl plans to market bulk and club packs of yellow, white and bi-color corn, which is grown June and July, under Mississippi Sweet Corn Producers’ Delta Harvest label.

Its first crop of greens is expected to hit the market in April.  

“The Mississippi Delta has been an often overlooked growing area and we saw an opportunity,” Ashley Rawl, director of sales, marketing and product development, said in the release. “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.”

In the release, Matt Gruber, Mississippi Sweet Corn’s chairman, said the organization has worked hard to build its 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,” he said. “We believe that Rawl meets our core needs in a strategic partner based on their growing experience, marketing skills and financial strength.”



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