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PEANUT MARKETING NEWS – November 11, 2014 – Tyron Spearman, Editor (148)

LEADERSHIP CHANGES IN AGRICULTURAL POLITICS – The Republican election victory, combined with congressional retirements and term limits, will shake up the leadership of key congressional committees for food and agriculture. Changes are:

  • Senate Agriculture: It is likely that Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), the current Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, will be named as the new incoming Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a position he also occupied from 2005-2007.  It is also highly likely that Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) will be named as the new incoming Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, reprising a role he played in the 1990s on the House Agriculture Committee.

Gone from the Committee next year will be three Senators who are retiring – Tom Harkin (D-IA), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), and Mike Johanns (R-NE).  In addition, Senator John Walsh (D-MT) withdrew his election bid earlier this summer.  Senate Agriculture is likely to have no openings for additional Democratic members, but will undoubtedly have space for four or more new Republican members.  That could open the door for Georgia’s Republican David Perdue.

  • House Agriculture: House Agriculture Chair Frank Lucas easily won his re-election contest, he is term limited by House GOP rules and thus cannot return next year as Chair, though will remain on the Committee.  The odds-on favorite to become the Chair is Representative Mike Conaway (R-TX).  Though several members are more senior than Conaway, they all have other high level positions on other committees they are unlikely to want to relinquish to take over on Agriculture.

On the Democratic side, Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) won his hotly contested race and will return to his role as the lead Democrat on the Committee.  The second most senior member of the Committee on the Democratic side, Mike McIntyre (D-NC), retired from Congress, as did Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-CA).  Two and possibly three Committee Democrats lost their re-election bids – Pete Gallego (D-TX), Bill Enyart (D-IL), and quite possibly senior Committee member Jim Costa (D-CA), though the race has not been officially called yet.  A few Democratic slots will be open.

  • Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee: Current Chair Mark Pryor (D-AR) lost his re-election bid so will not return next year as the Ranking Member.  The new chair will likely be the current Ranking Member, Roy Blunt (R-MO).  The Democratic side of the Subcommittee also loses retiring Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Tim Johnson (D-SD).   The new Ranking Member may not be known for some time yet, as the committee assignment process works itself out.  The most likely contenders are Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
  • House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee: None of the current members of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee lost their re-election bids this week.  However, Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA), a senior member of the House Subcommittee, did not run for re-election.  It is widely expected that the Chair of the House Subcommittee, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), will seek to lead the House Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee.  This could leave Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-MS) in line to take over the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

OKLAHOMA PEANUT PROCESSING COMPANY TO OFFER ALL ASSETS FOR SALE AS A GOING CONCERN

Texoma Peanut Company (dba Clint Williams Company), the Madill, OK based premier U.S. peanut processor, including handling and drying, bulk warehousing, in-shell peanut processing, peanut shelling and peanut blanching for Runner, Virginia and Spanish variety peanuts, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization on Thursday November 6, 2014 .  Prior to the Chapter 11 filing Texoma successfully sold its Madill facilities to Golden Peanut and Tree Nuts effective November 4, 2014.  Texoma will continue to operate the facility under lease from Golden Peanut and Tree Nut.  Texoma has solicited offers for the sale of substantially all of its remaining assets on a going-concern basis under Section 363 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.

Texoma has over 50 years of experience in processing peanuts and offers high quality raw shelled, in shell and blanched peanuts that are sold to the world’s leading and most recognizable manufactures of snacks and confectionary products, both domestically and internationally. It also provides custom processing services for customers, including peanut blanching and custom “bar ready” cleaning.  Texoma has multiple peanut buying point locations geographically centered in key peanut growing regions from Texas and Oklahoma, to Mississippi and Arkansas.  Through these buying points, Texoma has spent decades developing long-term relationships with many of the nation’s leading peanut growers.  Texoma Peanut’s buying points provide access to over 120,000 tons of farmer stock annually.  Texoma has attempted to resolve financial difficulties brought about by the prolonged 2012 and 2013 crop recession in its industry and unplanned expenses associated with the Company’s expansion in the Mississippi growing region.  The Company has successfully navigated a competitive environment over the last several years, but has recently been unable to meet its operational needs with its available line of credit.  Texoma and its secured lenders have determined that the best solution for Texoma and all of its creditors is to offer the company for sale on a going-concern basis.  By offering its business for sale on a going-concern basis, Texoma believes it can maximize the value of these assets for its estate and creditors and preserve as many jobs for its employees as possible Bidding procedures for the Company and terms of a sale are subject to approval by the Bankruptcy Court.  The Preliminary Bid Deadline for potential bidders  will be early December.  Texoma has set up an online data room for qualified parties interested in pursuing this opportunity.  Inquiries should be directed to Texoma’s investment banking advisors,   Lakeshore Food Advisors, Mary Burke, Partner, (312) 348-7080.

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