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Friday, August 22, 2014

Legislative committee meets on grain dealer losses

Posted By on Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 11:14 AM

A legislative committee is talking this morning about losses by farmers who sold crops to a Brinkley grain dealer but who have not been paid or received checks that bounced. The losses could be in the millions and reach other states.

Comments on Twitter so far run long on sympathy, short on solutions. From Jason Pederson of KATV:

* Ag. Sec. Butch Calhoun's advice to farmers who have not been paid by Turner Grain for harvested crops: "Hire an attorney." 

* AR Sec. of Ag Butch Calhoun: "It's a terrible tragedy." 

* "Arkansas farmers are resilient. You'll get through it." House speaker Davy Carter 

Various agencies are investigating the failure of the dealer to make payments. Officials of the company have not been available for comment. A bankruptcy filing is expected in many quarters, but none has been filed. One farmer interviewed on KATV last night said he'd chosen the Brinkley dealer to sell his crop because its prices were 15 percent higher than that offered by other dealers. That inspired the old cliche: When something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

State law requires no bonding for grain dealers, so apart from claims on any unspent funds, farmers awaiting money face difficulties in being made whole.

Arkansas Business is following the morning hearing. So far, the only tangible action is support for asking an extended loan repayment period for affected farmers. Arkansas Business also reports on some changes at a firm related to the grain dealer in Brinkley.

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