S&W Seed Expands Alfalfa Seed Production
FIVE POINTS, Calif., July 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — S&W Seed Company (Nasdaq: SANW) today said it has commenced farming the company’s leased farmland in Kern County, California. While the company continues to contract a majority of its alfalfa seed production from farmers in the San Joaquin Valley of California, farming its own alfalfa seed allows S&W greater control and flexibility.
According to the USDA, alfalfa is trading at record high prices due to shortages. In June 2011, the national average was $180 a ton, compared with $119 in the previous year. The company believes the shortage of alfalfa hay, coupled with record prices, will result in expansion of alfalfa production by farmers in the fall of 2011 and future years.
Mark Grewal, president and chief executive officer of S&W Seed, said, “We are very pleased with the rapid development that is taking place to convert our leased land in Kern County into farming production. The strategic initiative put in place by this management team and Board to become vertically integrated, and to be able to quickly adapt to the growing demands for our alfalfa seed varieties is now in the early stages of coming to fruition. In reviewing the alfalfa seed purchasing patterns this season, in conjunction with the accelerating price of hay, and our expectations for the 2012 harvest based on the data available to us, we believe the accelerated production of this land could yield substantial future returns. We are excited with the opportunities ahead.”
The property, which is initially leased through September 2014, is in Kern County located in the southern Central Valley of California, approximately 65 miles from S&W’s certified seed cleaning and processing facility in Five Points. The Company was particularly interested in leasing this farmland due to the fact that the acreage has a robust water supply, providing for reliable, consistent irrigation of crops even in years of water shortages. To date, S&W Seed’s team of agricultural professionals has laser-leveled the land, commenced installation of irrigation capabilities and planted sorghum on over 200 acres to prepare the land for higher value seed cropping. S&W anticipates being able to commence alfalfa seed production for the 2012 harvest in the coming quarter. The property also provides the company added flexibility for expanded stevia production, as it deems necessary, to meet the growing global demand for the all-natural sweetener rebaudioside-A (Reb-A), which is derived from the stevia leaf.
About S&W Seed Company
Founded in 1980 and headquartered in the Central Valley of California, S&W Seed Company is a leading producer of warm climate, high yield alfalfa seed varieties, including varieties that can thrive in poor, saline soils, as verified over decades of university-sponsored trials. S&W also offers seed cleaning and processing at its 40-acre facility in Five Points, California and has recently launched a business expansion initiative centered on its plan to mass produce stevia leaf in the U.S. in response to growing global demand for the all-natural, zero calorie sweetener from the food and beverage industry. For more information, please visit www.swseedco.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
This release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended and such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. “Forward-looking statements” describe future expectations, plans, results, or strategies and are generally preceded by words such as “may,” “future,” “plan” or “planned,” “will” or “should,” “expected,” “anticipates,” “draft,” “eventually” or “projected.” You are cautioned that such statements are subject to a multitude of risks and uncertainties that could cause future circumstances, events, or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements, including the risks that actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors and other risks identified in the Company’s 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, and other filings made by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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SOURCE S&W Seed Company