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Ohio ag department quits grain indemnity collection
By CELESTE BAUMGARTNER
Ohio Correspondent

COLUMBUS, Ohio — On July 1 the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) will stop collecting the half-cent per bushel assessment on grain deposits, according to LeeAnne Mizer, ODA spokesperson.

“The cap of $10 million was reached to fund the Agricultural Commodity Depositor’s Fund. Farmers pay the assessment when they deposit their grain,” Mizer said.

“The fund then reimburses farmers when a licensed grain handling facility becomes financially insolvent and cannot pay farmers for their grain,” she said.

Since the fund was established 1983 it has been used to reimburse farmers for more than $8.45 million for 1,302 claims in 35 grain elevator insolvencies.

In April of 2002 ODA Director Fred Dailey suspended the license of Snively Grain Company, Inc., McComb, Ohio, after an examination of the company’s records and inventories revealed that things were amiss; there was a shortage of corn and soybeans and a lack of funds to pay farmers, Mizer said.

After this payout and several others the fund reached a dangerously low level. In 2004 the cap was raised from $4-$10 million to improve protection for farmers.

“They reached the $10 million earlier in the year but the way the law is written they have to collect it through the end of the fiscal year,” Mizer said. “Then the half-cent per bushel assessment will be removed and hopefully it won’t have to be reinstated.”

Ohio has fewer than half the number of elevators but about the same storage capacity that existed when the fund began, Mizer said.

The state currently has storage capacity for approximately 360 million bushels of agricultural commodities at 451 licensed facilities. Several companies have the capacity to store millions of bushels at a single site.

Farmers routinely deliver harvested grain to an elevator, collect a delivery receipt, and wait payment for their crops at a later date, Mizer said.

In other news the department of agriculture announced that on May 23, a Putnam County judge ordered Robert Snively, former owner of Snively Grain Co. Inc., to 18 months in prison for falsification of records and theft. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $312,379 to ODA.

This farm news was published in the June 7, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

6/7/2006