New holding company acquires seed supplier


Chris Varner. Courtesy DF Seeds

A new local agricultural holding company has acquired a seed supplier.

Grand Rapids-based Tillerman Seeds has acquired the assets of Dansville-based DF Seeds.

DF Seeds is a supplier of soybeans and a variety of wheats.

Tillerman Seeds' sole aim is to buy regional seed suppliers that have annual sales in the $10-$30 million range.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Grand Rapids-based Tillerman & Co., which provided structuring, negotiation and capital formation on the transaction, will provide financial management for the new company and its subsidiaries until a financial officer is appointed.

Wells​ ​Fargo​​ ​provided​ ​senior​ ​debt​ ​financing​ ​and​ ​a​ ​revolving​ ​credit​ ​facility​ ​to​ ​Tillerman​ ​Seeds.

The​ ​Grand​ ​Rapids​ ​office​ ​of​ ​​Barnes​ ​&​ ​Thornburg​​ ​provided​ ​legal​ ​counsel​ ​to​ ​Tillerman​ ​Seeds​ ​on the​ ​transaction.​ ​

The​ ​Grand​ ​Rapids​ ​office​ ​of​ ​​Dickinson​ ​Wright​  ​represented​ ​​ DF Seeds in the deal.

DF Seeds provides more than 400 farmers with seeds that generates higher yields and increased resistance to disease and pests, which is what attracted Tillerman Seed to the company.

Although DF Seeds is under new ownership, not much will change. DF Seeds will operate under the same brand. It will retain its staff, including Chris Varner, the president of DF Seeds. She will remain in her role, where she has worked since 2009 and has been the owner since 2013. She has been in the seed industry for 25 years.

“We​ ​are​ ​pleased​ ​to​ ​welcome​ ​Chris​ ​and​ ​her​ ​staff​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Tillerman​ ​Seeds​ ​team,​ ​which​ ​has​ ​been working​ ​diligently​ ​to​ ​identify​ ​acquisitions​ ​in​ ​the​ ​seed​ ​market,”​ ​said James Sheppard, CEO, Tillerman Seeds.

“The​ ​multi-nationals​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​developing​ ​seeds​ ​that​ ​can​ ​be​ ​sold​ ​nationally​ ​and​ ​internationally, which​ ​leaves​ ​plenty​ ​of​ ​room​ ​for​ ​small,​ ​local​ ​firms​ ​that​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​developing​ ​seeds​ ​for​ ​specific micro-climates​ ​and​ ​specific​ ​grower​ ​needs,​ ​including​ ​non-GMO​ ​seeds.”​

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