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Federal court OKs Boersen Farms to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

BY Monday, September 25, 2017 11:55am

ZEELAND — A large farm operator in West Michigan appears poised to file for federal bankruptcy protection.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan on Friday approved a motion to initiate Chapter 11 proceedings for Zeeland-based Boersen Farms and its related business entities, according to court documents.

The move came shortly after federal Judge Robert Jonker placed Boersen Farms in receivership stemming from a lawsuit filed in late August by farm operator’s primary creditor, Minnesota-based CHS Capital LLC

CHS alleges Boersen owes it more than $145 million for outstanding unpaid balances. The complaint also accuses Boersen of misrepresentation of crop values and mismanagement of funds distributed by CHS.

Jonker had previously ruled that only the court-appointed receiver, Grand Rapids-based O’Keefe & Associates Consulting LLC, would be allowed to move Boersen Farms into bankruptcy.

In a declaration to the court, O’Keefe Principal Patrick O’Keefe stated that the placing the business entities tied to Boersen Farms in Chapter 11 bankruptcy was “in the best interests of creditors” involved in the case. 

“Given the need to harvest the 2017 crop, and to attend to other necessary and ongoing operations, the Court should authorize the filing of Chapter 11, as opposed to Chapter 7, petitions for the Proposed Bankruptcy Defendants,” Varnum LLP attorney Michael McElwee wrote in court filings.

McElwee represents O’Keefe, according to court documents.

Boersen Farms, which acquired the assets of the former Stamp Farms LLC out of bankruptcy in 2012, leases and farms land across tens of thousands of acres in West and Southwest Michigan and in nearby states. 

Kalamazoo-based Rayman & Knight is serving as the legal representative for Boersen Farms, according to court filings. 

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