Plantation to be sold to investors

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 25, 2006

Monterey &8212; Angelina Plantation, a 26,000-acre farm in Monterey, will be sold on Sept. 25.

The buyers are a group of private investors from Indiana who wish to remain anonymous but have hired Halderman Farm Management of Indiana to take over the agricultural operations.

HMF President Howard Halderman and Vice President Matthew Rekeweg said the investors would continue the work of former owner and WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers.

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Halderman said the sale of the property was a requirement of Ebbers&8217; settlement agreement after being found guilty of fraud and conspiracy in July 2005, in connection with WorldCom&8217;s false financial reporting scandal.

&8220;As far as the operations and systems here, he (Ebbers) initiated a lot of improvements for the farm and we look to continue them,&8221; Rekeweg said.

This work will consist mostly of precision leveling of the 23,000 tillable acres of the total 26,000 acres of the property, Halderman said.

Halderman said 8,400 acres are already leveled for farming.

The purpose for the leveling, Halderman said is to improve irrigation to specialty crops the plantation already produces.

such as soybeans, rice and even crawfish.

&8220;Being from Indiana, this will be our first time to farm Louisiana and our first time to produce crawfish as a crop,&8221; Halderman said. &8220;We&8217;re pretty excited about learning how.&8221;

The management company will also produce other specialty crops for hunters such as forage oats, seed rice and seed soybeans, Halderman said.

In addition, the group will consider growing crops for the making of bio-fuels in the future.

Rekeweg said the farm management company would continue to run the grain elevator and crop dusting operations the plantation provides for itself and other farmers in Concordia and the neighboring parishes.

Rekeweg said the company would continue to work with the local LSU Agricultural Center.

&8220;Whenever we have managed property for our landowner clients, we&8217;ve found that it is useful to work with the local Ag centers and local farmers,&8221; Rekeweg said.

Halderman said he and the investors are looking forward to continuing the hunting enterprise at Angelina.

&8220;We will operate the duck hunting enterprise as is too, meaning if someone wants to hunt out here they can ask permission to hunt a blind,&8221; Halderman said.