JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – On Wednesday, January 12, the Mississippi Grain Indemnity Task Force released its recommended legislative package to assist Mississippi producers when grain warehouses and grain dealers don’t meet their legal obligations.

The recently filed bankruptcy of a grain elevator in the Mississippi Delta has left many producers with claims against the bankrupt company, which is also under investigation for potentially fraudulent activities.

In reviewing this situation, as well as reviewing how other states have attempted to assist
producers when grain warehouses or dealers fail, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy
Gipson and other policymakers determined that changes are needed.

In October 2021, Commissioner Gipson established the Mississippi Grain Indemnity Task Force (“Task Force”) composed of Mississippi farmers and key policymakers.

Accordingly, Commissioner Gipson called upon these organizations and producers to assist in developing a contemporary farmer-driven approach to finding solutions for farmers when such a failure of a grain buyer may occur in the future.

While grain dealers and grain warehouses that operate in Mississippi must provide a bond or similar financial assurance to protect producers, these obligations are simply not adequate. The State of Mississippi cannot legislate that grain buyers must fulfill their contractual commitments, but this legislation can provide assistance to innocent Mississippi producers.

This legislative proposal provides for a voluntary producer-financed program without the use of taxpayer
funds. Voluntary assessments would be collected and placed in the Grain Indemnity Trust Fund to
compensate producers when a grain warehouse or grain dealer fails. Unlike other states with voluntary
programs, this proposal does not require a producer to pay assessments and then seek a refund at a later
date.

The Trust would be administered by a board consisting of the Commissioner of Agriculture and
Commerce and six other members appointed by Mississippi Farm Bureau and Delta Council, and two atlarge producers appointed by the Commissioner. These trustees would evaluate claims when a failure
occurs and authorize payments to be made from the Trust.

To view the proposal, click here.