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Ensuring livestock will be fed

Published (3/4/2010)
By Patty Ostberg
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A farmer beginning the process of foreclosure mediation would still be supplied food for their livestock, under a bill held over March 3 by the House Agriculture, Rural Economies and Veterans Affairs Finance Division for possible omnibus bill inclusion.

Sponsored by Committee Chairman Rep. Al Juhnke (DFL-Willmar), HF2889 would require banks to extend credit to feed mills at the beginning of the mediation process.

“We’ve come to some situations where banks have been reluctant once someone files for mediation,” and farmers worry about continuing to feed their livestock for a 30- to 40-day period before mediation actually begins, Juhnke said.

Representing the Minnesota Pork Producers, Jerry Schoenfeld said there has been at least four instances in the last year where banks have refused to continue to provide feed. Only after the head of a pork organization threatened to send media to the bank for an explanation were the animals given feed, he said.

“There is no incentive to keep feeding the livestock unless there is some form of security that allows the feed mill to get paid for providing feed to keep these animals alive,” said Laura Lemke, member services representative for the Minnesota Grain and Feed Association. Many feed mills are now forced to write off unpaid transactions, she said.

The bill allows a feeder to take a superior position above the lender in getting paid.

A companion, SF2465, sponsored by Sen. Jim Vickerman (DFL-Tracy), awaits action by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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