A grain elevator purchased by Anne Arundel County opened Friday, marking what County Executive Steuart Pittman called “probably the most impactful local government action on behalf of agriculture in the history of our county.”
Perdue AgriBusiness had owned the grain elevator in Lothian, in southern Anne Arundel County, but announced its intention to close it in January 2021. Concerned about the impact, Pittman worked with Perdue to delay the closure until a new owner could step in and operate the grain elevator. It closed briefly and will now be operated by Warfield Brothers Farm, a business based in Glenelg.
Funding to purchase the elevator and make necessary repairs came from the state of Maryland, county officials said in a news release.
Pittman credited state Sens. Sarah Elfreth and Jack Bailey and other Southern Maryland lawmakers for supporting funding for the initiative, and he praised state Secretary Kevin Atticks for reaching out to Gov. Wes Moore and getting his support.
Pittman said in a statement that the grain elevator provides a place to store corn, beans or wheat on its way to market.
“The closer that somewhere is, the quicker that field can get harvest,” Pittman, who was raised on his family farm in Davidsonville, said in a statement. “Without a local elevator, growing grains just isn’t feasible. We’ve already lost thousands of acres of our county’s farmland, and we can’t afford to lose more.”
John Eversfield Jr., a third-generation farmer and owner of the Dunkirk Eversfield Family Farm, said without the elevator being open, it would take about three months to harvest crops on his 180-acre farm, as opposed to one month with it in operation.
“I plan on being the first one in line tomorrow morning,” Eversfield said.
Many of the local farmers will benefit from the Lothian location as it is 16 miles outside of Annapolis, the county seat.
The elevator allows farmers to store their grain without having to drive a long distance to obtain storage.
“It’s quite a few older guys around here that really can’t do the drive and don’t have the equipment to do it,” Eversfield said.
John Warfield, co-owner of Warfield Brothers, agreed that a local grain elevator benefits the farming community. Most of the people don’t have the trucking capacity to get rid of their crops, he said.
“It’s important for the guys down there in Southern Maryland to be able to get back in the field and keep shelling,” Warfield said.