Iowa’s grain farmers may hold onto their government protection with a “fix” on the way to a new USDA rule. State ag secretary Patty Judge says it began with a rule putting federal regulators in charge of warehouse operations, a rule that would have overruled Iowa’s right to regulate the elevators and have them contribute to the state’s indemnity fund. When a farmer puts grain into a warehouse, whether it’s federally or state-regulated, any disaster or bankruptcy will still see farmers reimbursed for most of their loss by the indemnity fund. That happened in 2001, when the Grain Indemnity Fund paid out nearly 700,000 dollars after Crestland Cooperative, a federally licensed grain elevator, filed for bankruptcy. She says the system’s worked well for Iowa and giving it up isn’t in anyone’s best interest. Federal regulators agreed and put a moratorium on new federal grain-warehouse licenses, as a temporary “fix” for the regulatory goof.Judge says the fear is that if a federal warehouse doesn’t have to carry a state license, they ight all become federal businesses so they could avoid state red tape and the requirement to pay into that fund. Judge says both of Iowa’s U-S senators are working on a legislative fix that would close that loophole in the federal regulation. Judge says she doesn’t “need to do battle with USDA” and thinks the regulation will be fine-tuned within a few weeks and it’ll be business as usual.
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