The farming community has been shaken by the news that Homestead Organics, a leader in the field for the last three decades, is closing April 13.
“Excessive competition, rapid expansion costs, debt and a dozen other factors overcame us,” the Berwick-based firm says on its web page.
In addition to the loss of 18 jobs, the closure means that many farmers will suffer financial losses and that many organic livestock operators will be looking for a new supplier.
“We are very sad for this turn of events and we hope that your farm, business, and home can adjust to the many options available in the organic market,” Homestead says.
President Tom Manley says he is doing his best to reduce the losses faced by his suppliers.
“For those farmers and suppliers where we owe money, we sincerely apologize for the debt we are leaving. Tom is working very hard to collect accounts receivable and liquidate inventory and assets in order to send you as much money as possible. A liquidation trustee will be appointed and will contact you in about three weeks to confirm your account balance. The trustee will complete the liquidation of assets and distribute the moneys on a prorated basis,” the web page message reads.
Mr. Manley had taken over the company from his father in 1997. Since that time Homestead expanded to Morrisburg and Sebringville, near Stratford.
While the Berwick and Morrisburg properties will be offered for sale soon, the Sebringville mill will be taken over by new owners “very soon.”
Homestead had been recognized for its promotion of organic agriculture. In fact, it may have become a victim of its own success, as the growing sector attracted major companies with deep pockets.