HEYBURN — A locally based manufacturer of heavy equipment used in potato farming has been acquired by Idaho-based investors, thereby providing capital to facilitate future growth, company officials said.
Double L was founded in 1975, specializing in durable potato harvesting and handling equipment. The company has grown to serve “farmers of numerous crops in countries around the globe,” according to a press release.
The company announced on March 25 it has reached an agreement to be acquired by Teton Management Group, Pickett Equipment and the Idaho Legacy Fund. The strategic investors are all led by people with experience in agriculture, according to the press release.
“This strategic investment will enable the company to accelerate product offerings, expand support for customers and enter a new era of leadership in the farm equipment industry,” the press release explained.
Double L owners will retain key roles in the company. Chris Hunsaker, who was the CEO of Double L, is now the chief business development officer.
“As a company, we have worked hard to get to this point,” Hunsaker said. “We are excited about Double L’s future and how its new partners can play a significant role in maximizing the company’s potential. But even more importantly, we look forward to supporting our customers at a higher level via new products and services.”
The company’s new CEO is Jeff Sayer, who is the managing member of Idaho Legacy Fund and a former Idaho Secretary of Commerce.
“Double L is a family-built legacy and a vital part of a rural community that provides high-quality, American manufacturing jobs,” Sayer said in the press release. “Helping them reach their potential is a quintessential example of why we started the Idaho Legacy Fund.”
The investors have hired Boise-based Rectify Partners to assist with the management transition and to help the company develop its new growth strategies.
Kurt Harman, managing member of Teton Management Group, described Double L as a rural icon. Jonathan Price, CEO of Pickett Equipment, said Double L has earned a reputation for “durable, high-quality equipment.”
Kelly Duffin, assistant sales manager with Double L, started selling Double L equipment 27 years ago, initially working for dealers. He’s worked at the plant for the past 15 years.
“This is about as exciting as I’ve seen it,” Duffin said. “This is a large capital group with lots of capital that’s really going to solidify Double L’s place in the industry and that’s exciting.”
Helping potato farmers increase their productivity is critical, as production costs have risen while grower returns have been relatively flat. During the past six months, Duffin said the cost of agricultural equipment has skyrocketed, due largely to increases in steel costs.
“You look at what potato growers are getting for their crop and they have to have a higher yield and do a better job because they’re getting the same money for a 100-pound sack of potatoes, or even less,” Duffin said.