Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings acquires three retailers

Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC has acquired three more retail businesses including East Bernard Milling Company, Rupert Crafton Commission Company and M. B. Darby Warehouse, Inc.

East Bernard Milling will operate as part of Pinnacle's Sanders brand. Located in East Bernard, Texas, East Bernard Milling was founded in 1954 providing quality feed and pasture services to local growers. 

The new Sanders location will be managed by former East Bernard Milling co-owners, Brady and Britt Whitley, and will remain located at 106 Jones Street, East Bernard, Texas 77435. The current employees of East Bernard Milling will retain their positions under the new ownership. 

East Bernard Milling has been a vital part of the East Bernard community and its history for 60 years. The father and son team of Henry and Johnny Viktorin started East Bernard Milling Company in 1954 to provide quality feeds and friendly service to farmers and ranchers throughout Wharton County and beyond. The Whitley Family purchased East Bernard Milling and took over operations on July 1, 2000.

East Bernard Milling co-owner, Britt Whitley, said, "The Whitley family would like to thank all our customers for their support while we were stewards of East Bernard Milling. We have been blessed with the opportunity to serve an industry filled with honest, hardworking people we call friends. Pinnacle's acquisition of East Bernard Milling provides the next step in offering a wider range of products and services to our customers.

"Pinnacle and Sanders are very pleased with the recent acquisition of this highly-regarded business and welcomes its staff to our family, said John Williams, area operations manager.  "The Whitley family and the team at East Bernard Milling bring valuable expertise in the farm and ranch markets and will complement the existing Sanders business in Texas.

Coupled with the existing Sanders locations in Combes, Hearne, Knippa, Marlin, and Taft, this will be Sanders' sixth retail location in the southeast Texas area offering custom fertilizer blends, seed and crop protection products, and award-winning precision agriculture services through Sanders' proprietary OptiGro system. 

Pinnacle also acquired Rupert Crafton Commission Company. Crafton Commission will operate as part of Pinnacle's Sanders brand. Located in Blytheville, Ark., Crafton Commission is a farm input and supply company that has been serving area growers for more than 50 years.

The new Sanders location will remain at 2701 West Main Street, Blytheville, Arkansas, and will be managed by Michael White, who has been with Craft Commission since 1989. Former owner, Rupert Martin "Buzz Crafton, will remain on staff as a consultant and customer liaison, and all other employees of Crafton Commission will retain their current positions.

Crafton Commission was founded in 1957 by Rupert and Elizabeth Crafton, offering farm supply products to Mississippi County growers. In 1958, their son, Rupert Martin "Buzz" Crafton, returned from active military duty and joined his parents in the family business. The business flourished under their leadership and was incorporated in 1974 as they continued to provide seed, fertilizer, and farm chemicals to growers up and down the Mississippi River. Michael White joined the business in 1989, bringing with him a seventeen years of experience in crop scouting and consulting with the Cooperative Extension Service.

Michael White said, "This is a win-win for everyone involved. Our long-time customers and employees will benefit from the additional resources and tools that Pinnacle and Sanders bring. Pinnacle and Sanders will benefit from the addition of a great customer base and staff that have served those customers faithfully for so many years. We are excited to associate our reputation and business with an equally respected company like Pinnacle."

"Pinnacle and Sanders are very pleased with the recent acquisition of this well-established, respected business, and we are excited about its staff joining our team, said Will Elkins, Sanders area operations manager. "We look forward to continuing the excellent service that Michael White and the Crafton family have provided area farmers for over half a century.

Darby Warehouse will operate as part of Pinnacle's Sanders brand. Located in Arnaudville, La., Darby Warehouse is a farm input, fertilizer and supply company that has been serving area growers for more than 50 years.

The new Sanders location will remain at 124 Canal Street, Arnaudville, Louisiana, and will be managed by David Lanclos, Ph.D. Prior to joining Sanders in August 2013, Lanclos served for more than six years as the state's Soybean, Corn and Grain Sorghum Specialist for the LSU AgCenter, followed by serving as the Syngenta Tech Service Representative for the South Delta District. 

"I am ecstatic to be back in south Louisiana doing what I love to do on a daily basis, said Lanclos. "This new alliance with Pinnacle and Sanders will make us more efficient and more competitive, ultimately benefiting our customer base. I am excited to have such a strong team working with me. We have great brand recognition and will be able to offer value-added services such as Optigro system that contribute to our customers' success.

Darby Warehouse originated in 1962 as Melvin B. "Joe Darby blended three independent businesses. The independent businesses included Darby Gin, a farm supply business, and a general merchandise store. Founded in 1884 by Joe Darby's grandfather, Leonce Darby, Sr., Darby Gin processed cotton for local farmers until it closed in 1974. Joe Darby then continued the farm supply side of the business providing seed, fertilizer, and farm chemicals to growers in the St. Landry and St. Martin Parish areas.  In the late 1980's, Joe's two sons, Joseph and John, returned from college and joined the family business. Upon Joe Darby's death in April 2011, Joseph and John were named acting co-managers of Darby Warehouse and continued the legacy of helping area growers be productive and successful.

Former owners, Joseph and John Darby, will remain on staff as outside sales representative and operations manager, respectively. All other employees of Darby Warehouse will retain their current positions under the new ownership. Joseph Darby said, "This is an exciting time for our family, and I want to personally and sincerely express our gratitude to all of our employees, farmers and friends that have made our business successful. John Darby added, "It's a pleasure to announce our partnership with Pinnacle and Sanders, as we feel certain that our long-time customers and employees will benefit from the additional resources and tools that they bring.   

"Pinnacle and Sanders are very pleased with this acquisition, and we look forward to continuing the excellent service that the Darby family has provided area producers for over half a century, commented Wayne Hensgens, Sanders area operations manager. "The team that we have assembled in Arnaudville, led by David and the Darby brothers, will offer area growers the latest in agronomic field expertise.


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