Diebold Orchards to auction off land

Wednesday, June 25, 2008
AARON EISENHAUER ~ aeisenhauer@semissourian.com Diebold Orchards will be auctioning off 700 acres of orchard land.

KELSO, Mo. — The Diebold family plans to auction off its 700-acre orchard Aug. 20.

David Diebold, co-owner of the business off U.S. 61 in Kelso, cited family issues for the auction.

"All the shareholders don't have enough money to buy each other out," Diebold said. "So we are holding the auction so those who want to buy the assets of the company can do so and the rest of the land can be sold to the public."

Diebold said the auction is a reorganization of the land. He said they only use 10 percent of the land for the orchard industry. Therefore, during the auction the Diebold family — which includes David and his brother, Joseph — plans to purchase that land and hopes the other 630 acres is sold to people outside of the company.

The Diebold store along Interstate 55 just outside Benton, Mo., will remain open. It is not part of the auction.

At 10 a.m. Aug. 20, inside the Knights of Columbus Hall in Scott City, the property will be sold in 15 tracts. After purchasing the land, buyers will have an option of splitting their purchased land or combining it with other tracts for a larger acreage, according to the Summer 2008 edition of Midwest Farm and Ranch magazine. The property will not be auctioned off to another orchard business, Diebold said.

Sizes of the tracts range from 10 acres to 160 acres. The land features rolling hills, ponds stocked with fish and fields with a variety of flowers.

Diebold said the tracts could be use for a variety of purposes. Roughly 110 acres of the property could be used for farmland or a subdivision, he said.

Another section of the land, the Carroll farm, is 470 acres, including 35 acres of man-made lakes and ponds. Diebold said game such as turkey and deer have been spotted on the farm. The land was purchased from Leonard Carroll in 1966 for $100 an acre and Diebold believes the land could sell for much more today.

The property also includes the 120-acre Sherer farm, which was bought in the 1940s from Lawrence Sherer, David Diebold's great-uncle.

"However, we've been unable to get an appraisal for the land," Diebold said. "One reason we're having the auction is so we can see how much we can get for the land. We had planned on retiring on that piece of land one day, but the money that will come as a result of the sale will allow us to retire much earlier than we had planned."

While the auction will take place on just one day, the property will be available for showings on two dates. Interested buyers can view the orchard from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 9 and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 12.

Diebold Orchards began in 1922, when Joseph Diebold planted eight acres of apples. He sold his crop out of a garage just south of Kelso on U.S. 61.

Thirty-three years later, Diebold's son, Herman, and daughter-in-law, Ella, planted 19 acres of peaches. They soon added onto the garage to include a larger storefront on the property.

In 1970, the business was incorporated as Diebold Orchards Inc. But packing facilities and the market at Kelso were quickly becoming obsolete. The family purchased land at the current market location in Benton in 1975 and opened the market location three years later.

Today, Diebold Orchards still sells its apples and peaches but has expanded to include more options. In the spring, vegetable plants, garden flowers, herb plants, perennials and house plants are available. By the summer, the orchard offers apples, peaches, sweet corn, homegrown vegetables and blackberries. The fall selection includes pumpkins, ciders, mums, pears and apples.

bblackwell@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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