Pennsylvania Senators Announce Legislation to Support Grain Farmers

Sens. Judy Schwank (D-11th district) and Elder Vogel (R-47th district) will introduce PFB-supported legislation that would protect farmers from grain handlers that become insolvent.

Schwank and Vogel recently announced their plans for legislation that would create an Agricultural Commodity Indemnity Fund (ACIF) to be used to reimburse farmers if their grain handler goes out of business. The legislation is based on laws adopted in other states and was inspired by two Berks County farmers who lost thousands of dollars when their grain dealer went out of business. Pennsylvania currently has no regulations providing indemnification to farmers if their grain buyer goes out of business.

“The lack of protection afforded to Pennsylvania’s grain farmers puts them at significant risk and makes other farmers think twice before doing business here,” Schwank said in a media release. “This legislation will make sure other farmers don’t have to endure this economic hardship and blow to their livelihood when they’ve lived up to their end of the bargain. Other states protect their farmers. It’s time for Pennsylvania to do the same.”

According to the release, the ACIF will be funded by annual grain handler license fees and a half-cent per bushel fee paid by farmers selling or storing grain with licensed grain handlers. The per-bushel assessment will be discontinued once the fund reaches $10 million, and the assessment will not be reinstated unless the fund drops to $8 million.

“The establishment of ACIF will provide security for Pennsylvania farmers who do business with grain dealers, by preventing potentially devastating impacts should the company with which they have engaged in business become insolvent,” Vogel said. “Further, it will promote local licensed grain handlers in areas of the Commonwealth that border states with such a fund already in place.”

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