Peanut Company to Sell Mississippi Operation

CLARKSDALE, Miss. (AP) — Oklahoma-based Texoma Peanut Company will sell its peanut drying facility in Clarksdale, Mississippi, according to its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

The company is a salted and roasted nut and seed manufacturer located in Madill, Oklahoma. It filed the bankruptcy petition early this month. Texoma and its subsidiary, The Clinton Williams Co., listed assets of $49 million and liabilities of $45 million in filings made in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Okmulgee, Oklahoma.

The Clarksdale Press Register reports that some of that debt is owed to Coahoma County. The county loaned the company $2.3 million through the Economic Development Authority and the company had been paying that back, until recently.

However, board of supervisors' attorney Tom Ross said he didn't think the bankruptcy filing would necessarily disrupt payments to the county.

"We've got the letter of credit and there's substantial equity in their property," Ross said.

The facility opened outside of Clarksdale two years ago. At the time, both city and county leaders worked together to lure the facility to town. The Clint Williams Company promised to bring at least 10 full-time jobs here and a couple dozen seasonal jobs, too.

In 2012, when the facility opened, peanut prices were high due to droughts in Texas and Georgia and Mississippi farmers got on board to grow more peanuts. In 2013, Delta famers planted only 42 percent of their 2012 crop, due largely to falling prices.

Company vice president Steve Ortloff said in a news release that this boom-and-bust cycle was in part to blame for the Texoma company's financial woes.

In addition to the decline in peanut planting, The Clint Williams facility also suffered damages from a fire in February 2013 that lasted for a couple of days and burned large numbers of peanuts.