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Terral Seed Co. founder dies

John Cobb Terral, the founder of Lake Providence, La.-based Terral Seed Co. and a number of other Louisiana agricultural-related businesses, has died. He was 81.

Terral purchased Farmers Seed and Feed Co., a small retail store in Lake Providence, with his brother Forrest in 1946. He and a partner, E.M. Norris, founded Terral-Norris Seed Co., in the early 1950s.

“In the 1990s, Farmers Seed and Feed was renamed Terral AgriService, and Terral-Norris Seed became Terral Seed, which now sells corn, soybean, grain sorghum and wheat genetics all over the Mid-South,” said Daniel Terral, John Cobb Terral's son, who is president of Terral AgriService.

“Dad developed the idea for Terral Seed as he saw the potential for soybeans as a viable crop in the Mid-South. His foresight was the springboard for what these two companies have become.”

In the early 1960s, seeing the need for the marketing of soybeans to international markets, Terral started the Lake Providence Port Elevator. After acquiring the Tallulah Port Elevator in Tallulah, La., in the 1970s, this company merged with an elevator group in Tensas Parish, La., in 1980 to become Great River Grain Co.

“Also in the 1970s, Dad formed Terral Barge Line to provide harbor service to the grain elevators and sell wholesale aggregates and fertilizers,” said Daniel Terral. “With the sale of the grain elevators in 1990, Great River Grain and Terral Barge Line merged to become Terral RiverService, which now has locations from Pine Bluff, Ark., to Alexandria, La., selling rock aggregates and fertilizers and providing stevedoring, harbor and line towing services at various locations along the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

Terral AgriService has now grown to five retail locations, selling plant food, seed and crop protection materials.

A graduate of Louisiana State University, Terral served in World War II and the Korean Conflict, receiving the Silver Star and Purple Heart during World War II.

He was a deacon and long-time member of the First Baptist Church of Lake Providence, the Lake Providence Rotary Club, the Powell-Martin-Barrett Post of the American Legion and numerous organizations. He was also a member of the board of directors of Delta Bank.

He leaves his wife, Marjorie Wade Terral; his sons, John Forrest Terral, Daniel Terral and his wife, Amy, Travis Terral and his wife, Christy; his daughters, Renee Whatley and her husband, Larry, and Edna Gattle and her husband, Tom Gattle; his brother, Dr. William Terral; and a sister, Mignon Pratt; and 13 grandchildren.

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