Nebraska hosts grain contract workshops

By Erin Voegele | January 03, 2009
Web exclusive posted Jan. 2, 2009, at 10:14 a.m. CST

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture will host two additional workshops for Nebraska farmers to learn more about their obligations under forward contracts for grain. The workshops will be held Jan. 6 in Central City and Ord, Neb. A similar workshop was held in Albion in December.

The workshops are being coordinated through NDA's Farm Mediation Program, which scheduled the additional meetings due to the large turnout of producers at the Albion meeting, NDA's Director Greg Ibach said in a release announcing the meetings. The purpose of the workshops is to help grain sellers understand more about the contracting process, given the current corn and ethanol market climates.

South Dakota-based VeraSun Ethanol Corp. owns ethanol plants in Ord, Central City and Albion, which have a combined 260 MMgy production capacity, using approximately 100 million bushels of corn. The Ord and Central City plants are idled.

The NDA has received calls from concerned farmers who forward contracted their corn with VeraSun before the company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October. According to Ibach, farmers who have contracts with VeraSun Ethanol Corp. may have an interest in attending the workshop, but the information presented should also be valuable to others with forward contacts for grain. An attorney will be on hand to discuss seller's rights under grain contract and explain how those rights can be affected by bankruptcy.

The workshops are being coordinated through NDA's Farm Mediation Program, which conducts monthly informational workshops in several Nebraska communities. The workshops cover topics such as farm finances; the laws, regulations and policies governing the Farm Service Agency; debt restructuring and other legal options.

Preregistration for the workshops is not required, but interested participants are encouraged to call 800-446-4071 to sign-up. For more information on the workshops, visit the NDA Web site,