Van Ham Dairy files for bankruptcy

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SALEM, Ohio — A 2,200-cow dairy in Continental, Ohio, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Toledo.

Van Ham Dairy LLC, is a megadairy reportedly associated with the Wauseon firm that recruited Dutch dairy farmers to Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.

Legalities

Van Ham Dairy Leasing LLC, owns the real estate on which Van Ham Dairy LLC has operated for the past seven years. The leasing portion of the company shares an address with Vreba-Hoff Dairy Development, the Wauseon business that has been involved in lawsuits and legal actions with farmers and lenders.

The bankruptcy filing lists the real-estate holding company as having assets of less than $10 million and liabilities of between $10 million and $50 million. Van Ham Dairy filed for bankruptcy protection in May.

AgStarFinancial is listed as the main creditor in the Van Ham Dairy case, holding a $7.6 million mortgage.

Cecilia Conway, a Vreba-Hoff Dairy Development spokesman, said the bankruptcy is similar to other dairies forced to file bankruptcy across the nation. She said it is a combination of low milk prices and high grain prices.

“Bankruptcy is not what they wanted to do, but was necessary to protect their assets. It is a disappointment to them and us, but the lender didn’t give them many choices,” Conway said.

Other bankruptcies

In July, two northwest Ohio dairy farms were sold as part of a $5 million foreclosure lawsuit against Vreba-Hoff filed by AgStarFinancial Services, a lending cooperative based in Mankato, Minn., that has named the Wauseon firm in other suits.

Wild Cat Dairy in Paulding County was sold for $1.81 million at a public sale, and Blue Stream Dairy in Van Wert County was sold for $1.4 million, according to the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Toledo.

Midwest AG Investments LLC, another Vreba-Hoff real-estate subsidiary, filed for reorganization in June to protect its assets, including agricultural land in Sandusky County, Ohio, and Lenawee County, Mich.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

One Comment

  1. Gary Haws says:

    It sure seems like we were better off when 50 cow dairies dotted the countryside. The Dutch have come over here with their grand ideas, and are able to secure financing that is unsustainable compared to their income. One has to wonder, are banks that stupid, or has the government devised some kind of risky loan guarantee? When they fail to fulfill their obligations, the Dutch leave their mess behind and go back home without much consequence.

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