Second Stamp Farms auction nets almost $17M

A Stamp Farms truck is parked outside of the grain elevators in downtown Decatur in January.

LAWTON - A sizable crowd showed up for the chance to buy 2,200 acres of Southwest Michigan farmland and other assets owned by Mike Stamp, owner of bankrupt Stamp Farms of Decatur.

But when the auction ended, all assets on the auction block were sold to Ceres Partners of South Bend for $16.9 million, said Sid Miedema, who said he was impressed with the turnout.

The auction last week followed the February auction in Grand Rapids to dispose of most of Stamp Farms assets and those of its affiliated companies. In the first auction, Boersen Farms Inc. of Zeeland paid $22.8 million.

Up for auction last week were 26 parcels of farmland in Van Buren and Cass counties, including 1,500 acres with center-pivot irrigation. Also for sale were three houses and a large shop and storage building. The auction took place at the Lawton Heritage Community Center.

Miedema said the Cass County farmland sold for more than $9,400 per acre, and the Van Buren County farmland generated more than $9,000 per acre.

"With everything all said and done, the total auction proceeds generated more than 35 percent that what the U.S. Bankruptcy Court had established," Miedema said. "It was a great day, and a great crowd."

Stamp Farms declared bankruptcy in November. In its bankruptcy filing, Stamp Farms and its affiliated companies listed assets of between $10 million and $50 million, and liabilities between $50 million and $100 million.

Ceres Partners is the general manager of Ceres Farms LLC, which owns more than 29,000 acres of farmland in Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio. Ceres Partners is also general manager of Heartland Farms LLC, which owns more than 1,400 acres of Tennessee farm land.

Twitter: @HPLersten