The Governor has signed a bill written in part because of grain dealership insolvencies that cost farmers 32 million dollars in 2009. Senator sponsor Brian Munzlinger of Williamstown hopes that language will help the Department of Agriculture’s inspectors keep grain elevators in line.
Among its provisions, the act requires all licensed grain dealers or license applicants maintain a minumum net worth of 5% of the total amoung of train bought in the previous fiscal year. Licensed dealers and applicants also have to maintain assets at least equal to current liabilities.
It also raises the minimum surety bond requirement for licensed dealers from $20,000 to $50,000 and raises the maximum from $300,000 to $600,000.
Munzligner says it won’t be a panacea, however, saying those who want to break laws will still break laws and could commit fraud. He cautions farmers not to rely on the “hand shake” deals of the past, and to get proper documentation of all transactions.
The omnibus bill also establishes the Missouri Farmland Trust and broadens law regarding “noxious weeds.”