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State Farm to sell rural farm to private firm

State Farm, which is one of the nation’s largest farm companies, said Thursday it plans to sell about 50% of its rural farm in Arkansas to a company that is owned by the president of a local school board.

The deal, which could also give the company control of other rural assets, is expected to close by the end of the year, said Tim McQuaide, the company’s vice president of government affairs.

State Farm’s current contract expires at the end in 2021.

The sale, if approved, will help State Farm avoid debt, McQuanade said.

State Farm’s farm operations include the nation-leading River Hill Farms in northern Arkansas and the state’s largest grain-based food processor, Arkansas Grain & Pasture.

The company also operates the state-owned Mississippi River, which stretches from Mississippi to Alabama.

The Arkansas farm was sold to the private-equity firm in a $1.2 billion deal announced in November.

The state has said the deal will help the state improve rural infrastructure and boost employment in rural areas.