USDA help requested in grain crisis

Aug 29, 2014

Arkansas’ four Congressmen signed a joint letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting that USDA extend the Commodity Credit Corporation loan repayment date for farmers affected by the collapse of Turner Grain Merchandising in Brinkley, Arkansas.

Turner Grain has been at the center of a brewing calamity for farmers since it was revealed that a number of farmers have gone unpaid on their crops and that the grain dealer was under regulatory investigation and involved in litigation.

On Thursday, U.S. Reps. Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin, Steve Womack, and Tom Cotton sent a joint letter to Vilsack asking for a repayment extension of at least 180 days for affected farmers, whose losses on outstanding grain purchases are estimated at $50-$80 million.

Additionally, the letter highlighted the potential impact on the U.S. food base – specifically U.S. rice and soybean crops – as Arkansas produces nearly half of the U.S. rice crop and a significant amount of soybeans.

“We are writing to request USDA, through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), work to ensure that we do not disrupt a considerable portion of America’s most productive agricultural base because badly-needed funds were tied up in litigation,” the letter stated.

“Specifically, we request the FSA extend the Commodity Credit Corporation loan repayment date for all farmers who are depending on payment from Turner Grain to pay off these loans. We recommend a period of 180 days to give farmers and the agricultural community some sense of assurance. Further, we recommend that the Agency revisit the extension after 90 days to determine if additional time will be needed beyond the current 180 days.”

- See more at: http://talkbusiness.net/2014/08/congressmen-request-usda-help-for-grain-crisis-farmers/#sthash.rM8w8bhe.dpuf