The Iowa Corn Growers Association along with the National Corn Growers Association have filed a formal objection to the bankruptcy proceedings involving VeraSun, an ethanol producer with five plants in Iowa.
Mindy Poldberg, director of government relations for the Iowa Corn Growers, says the farm groups hired lawyers and filed documents in the federal court in Delaware that’s handling the bankruptcy. "It will be very difficult for any individual farmer to be able to be involved in this case due to the travel to Delaware and the expense involved in being involved in this case," Poldberg says. "We also believe that — even if an individual Iowa farmer does not have a contract with VeraSun — because of the size of the entity that VeraSun is, what happens in this case will affect our Iowa market."
The Corn Growers’ lawyers listed more than 100 Midwest farmers who have contracts with VeraSun to deliver grain to VeraSun’s ethanol plants. "The court requires that you list individuals that have an opportunity to have a loss in the case which is why you have to list some peoples’ names," Poldberg says. "But our reason for getting involved is not on behalf of individual people, but because so many corn growers are going to be affected and it’s to represent corn growers in general."
It is doubtful the corn growers’ attorneys will be able to get the court to force VeraSun to pay the full price on contract sales of corn since the company is going through bankruptcy. But there are other issues that can be raised, such as getting VeraSun to release some farmers from contracts so they may sell their corn elsewhere. "One item we would like to discuss with the court is what procedures are fair for a farmer as well as for the company," Poldberg says.
According to Poldberg, thousands of corn growers could be affected by the decisions made by the bankruptcy court. VeraSun operates 16 ethanol plants, including plants in Albert City, Charles City, Dyersville, Fort Dodge and Hartley.