By Tom Collins
PORT HOPE — A farmer with a NorAg Resources grain contract is not sure if the contract is still valid.
Founder Ben Currelly terminated the business on Feb. 13. NorAg was a grains and oilseeds buyer and seller that Currelly started in 1998. A notice on the company’s web site said he was retiring immediately due to health issues, but made no mention of what would happen to current contracts.
Larry Reynolds, who runs Reynolds Farms in Picton with his nephew Lloyd Crowe, said he had a contract with NorAg for 15,000 bushels of wheat for about $6.15 a bushel that was signed about two years ago. Reynolds heard rumours about NorAg closing, and visited the company’s web site to see the notice. He said he got no word from Currelly about the status of the contract and figured the contract was no longer valid.
“As of right now, I’m feeling it’s a dead duck in the water, wouldn’t you?” Reynolds told Farmers Forum. Reynolds found another buyer at $6.65 a bushel. “I don’t know if I’m in the right or wrong, I guess I’ll find out when the summertime comes.”
Reynolds said he is not upset by having to get a new contract.
“I’m not upset at all,” he said. “Things happen all the time in the farming community.”
Other farmers contacted by Farmers Forum who had done business with NorAg in the past did not have contracts at the time of the company’s termination.
Agricorp, a crown corporation and Ontario’s crop insurance provider, provides producers with a claim package to complete and submit to the Grain Financial Protection Board. That package covers farmers in situations when contracts go unfilled. Agricorp communications manager Stephanie Charest told Farmers Forum in an email that as of March 28, the board had received no claims in relation to NorAg.
Currelly replied to a Farmers Forum email explaining that he was still on holiday and would respond to questions.
National business magazine Profit named NorAg as one of Canada’s fastest growing companies in 2012 and 2013. Profit said NorAg earned revenues of $27.1 million in 2006, which jumped to $114.5 million in 2011 and between $100 to $250 million in 2012.