Grain Indemnity Fund advances in Minnesota Legislature

The agriculture committees in the Minnesota House and Senate have advanced legislation to create a grain indemnity fund.

Senate chair Aric Putnam says there have been instances where farmers lose hundreds of thousands of dollars because of fraud or a grain elevator going bankrupt.

“It’s tragic, so I think the grain indemnity fund is going to be a real step in the right direction.”

The fund would be operated by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and grain sellers could receive between half and all money owed when a buyer fails.

Minnesota Corn Growers president Richard Syverson tells Brownfield the Association debated the issue during its resolutions session in January.

“And there seems to be almost as many opinions about (the grain indemnity fund) as there are corn growers in Minnesota.”

Syverson says Minnesota Corn would support a grain indemnity fund that’s voluntary and flexible.

“So that individual farmers who are quite confident in their grain buyer can opt out of that program and save whatever fee is collected to fund that program.”

Minnesota Farmers Union president Gary Wertish says the bonding system doesn’t work and Minnesota should join more than a dozen other states by establishing a grain indemnity fund to protect farmers when grain elevators collapse.

Senator Aric Putnam interview:

Richard Syverson interview:

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