Board begins work toward state grain indemnity fund
Members of the newly appointed Texas Grain Producer Indemnity Board met for the first time recently in Austin to begin work on grain indemnity fund policy.
The nine-member board was appointed by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples in December 2011. The representatives from grain producers, storage facilities and grain buyers are: Dale Artho, Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Association; Daniel Berglund, Texas Soybean Association; Guy Brady, Jr., Texas Grain and Feed Association; John Cowan, Non-Warehouse Grain Buying Industry; Mitchell Harris, Expertise in Production Agriculture Financing; Charles Huddleston, Texas Farm Bureau; Brian McCuistion, Texas Agricultural Cooperative Council; Ben Scholz, Texas Wheat Producers Association; and Dee Vaughan, Corn Producers Association of Texas.
The members were sworn onto the board Jan. 18. The board members elected Vaughan as the board chairman, Artho as vice chairman, McCuistion as secretary, and Harris as treasurer.
"I commend these individuals and others for working with the Legislature to address the need for developing self-funded solutions to benefit the Texas grain industry," Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said. "Protecting grain producers from losses due to [grain buyer] failures is a smart investment toward protecting our overall economy and ensuring consumer demand is met."
The board began work on determining procedures, discussed the goal date for the producer referendum, and other related items to get the fund in place so producers will be covered from losses when they are not paid for grain they deliver to a buyer or a storage facility.
"The board is working hard to efficiently determine the operations of the indemnity fund so we can work to get the fund in place and provide the protection producers need," Vaughan said.
Once the board establishes its procedures, producers will have 90-day notice before the referendum is held. The cost of the referendum will be paid by producer organizations and agricultural financing institutions.
The board's establishment is the result of legislation passed by the 2011 Texas legislature and signed into law by the governor. Rep. Larry Phillips of Sherman and Sen. Craig Estes of Wichita Falls introduced the legislation after a series of grain elevator financial failures in recent years resulted in millions of dollars in losses to Texas grain producers.
The Texas Grain Producer Indemnity Board is a nine-member board appointed by the agriculture commissioner to oversee the establishment and operations of a state grain indemnity fund.