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Olsen Ag Works Out Of Bankruptcy

MONMOUTH -- A federal judge recently approved a business reorganization plan that allowed Olsen Agriculture to exit bankruptcy on Saturday.

MONMOUTH -- A federal judge recently approved a business reorganization plan that allowed Olsen Agriculture to exit bankruptcy on Saturday.

Olsen Ag, based in the Monmouth area and one of the largest private agricultural companies in Oregon, has grass seed, vegetable and vineyard operations on roughly 6,500 acres in Polk County and elsewhere in the Willamette Valley.

Olsen Ag filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2011, with money problems brought on by the recession and expansion.

Ben Hanna, Olsen Ag general manager, said in a press release that the firm will repay unsecured creditors with full interest within six years.

It will also return 1,600 acres of farmland to a primary lender, Rabo Agrifinance, in exchange for a reduction of debt, Hanna said.

The United States Bankruptcy Court's "approval validates all the hard work over the last year of our employees, owners and advisers," he said. "Their hard work saved us from liquidation and preserved 35 jobs in the local community."

Gary Lawrence of Hamstreet & Associates, the firm that advised Olsen Ag during the restructure process, said there hasn't been a definitive decision on whether the company will continue its Viridian wine label. Olsen Ag will, however, keep growing fruit for winemakers, Lawrence said.

James Olsen and Robin Olsen, both company shareholders, left their positions as marketing director and operations director, respectively, during the past year.

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