Requires USDA to Extend Loans, Suspend Interest for Arkansas Farmers
Sep 16 2014
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman today introduced the Farmer Flexibility Act of 2014 to protect grain farmers from financial ruin if a seed producer defaults on a contract and fails to pay grain producers after taking possession of the grain. Their action comes on the heels of a breach of contract by commodity brokers near Brinkley, Arkansas who left farmers dealing with potential million dollar losses.
"I’ve been working with USDA to provide breathing room for our grain producers, and the agency has been responsive to these needs. This bill provides additional relief to protect our grain farmers and mitigate damage to our economy,” Pryor said. “Our grain farmers work too hard to face financial ruin at no fault of their own.”
“A number of Arkansas farmers are facing significant financial difficulties as a result of a broker’s default. Given that this is the peak season for harvesting, these farmers are taking a major financial hit because of someone else’s mistakes,” Boozman said. “The bill we are introducing is a good faith effort to help affected farmers and give them time to recover.”
"We thank Senators Pryor and Boozman for their efforts to provide relief for affected farmers. This bill, if implemented, will certainly help farmers impacted by this situation,” said Andrew Grobmyer, Agriculture Council of Arkansas executive vice president. “Time is needed for affected farmers to deal with this terrible situation, and this bill offers that time. It will help keep some farms in business and minimize further economic fallout. We hope Congress and USDA will provide this short term relief and look for other opportunities to help affected producers."
“We are certainly pleased to see this effort to aid farmers affected by the difficult situation involving Turner Grain Merchandising. If passed, this legislation would provide some immediate relief by extending loan terms and freezing interest charges,” said Randy Veach, Arkansas Farm Bureau president. “Arkansas has limited state laws pertaining to grain merchandising, allowing this unfortunate and unprecedented financial tangle. Hopefully this federal legislation can keep some of our farmers from financial ruin. Some farmers are caught in untenable circumstances where they are forced to repay loans though they were never paid for the crops they delivered.”The Farmer Flexibility Act of 2014 would require the USDA to extend the term of its loans for farmers facing nonpayment due to a bankruptcy filing by a buyer until the bankruptcy case is closed or dismissed. This bill also suspends interest accrual during the extension, while the bankruptcy case is being litigated. The loan extension and interest suspension are important tools to help farmers facing non-payment for their grain commodity time to recover.