A federal jury has awarded nine Algona-area farmers more than two million dollars in their case against the Farmers Co-op in Wesley. The legal battle began in 1996 over so-called “hedge-to-arrive” contracts.After sharp increases in corn prices, the elevator and the farmers quarreled over whether the farmers would be allowed to “roll over” the contracts for future years. The jury awarded the farmers three-quarters of a million dollars for “breach of contract” and another one-point-three million in punitive damages for “harming the reputation of the farmers.” Nick Iavorone was the farmers’ attorney who argued the elevator conspired with other elevators, then made false statements in the community about the farmers’ contracts. Iavorone argued the elevator couldn’t make the margin calls, and decided to try to switch the blame to the farmers. Iavorone expects the co-op to appeal the case.
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