FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Farmers in Huntington and Wells Counties lost millions of dollars due to the failure of local grain mills in 2020. Now, the Indiana Grain Buyers and Licensing Agency is making sure farmers have received their partial payments.
In March 2020, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the Indiana Grain Buyers and Warehouse Licensing Agency (IGBWLA) temporarily suspended the mill’s licenses. According to court documents, owners of the mills had defaulted on two separate loans from First Farmers Bank & Trust, totaling over $8 million.
A month later owners voluntarily surrendered their licenses at all locations, effectively closing the mills for the foreseeable future. First Farmers Bank & Trust foreclosed on Salamonie Mills properties and in late July 2020 all locations were sold at public auction. Agland Grain properties are currently for sale.
More than 200 farmers and/or groups were impacted by the grain elevator companies’ closures, losing more than $9.2 million.
After months of going over documents from farmers and the mill, the Indiana Grain Buyers and Warehouse Licensing Agency began issuing partial payments to farmers impacted using the Grain Indemnity Fund. The first round went out in December 2020 with the second round being distributed in the late spring.
Partial payments are for 80% of each eligible claimant’s total loss which is stated in the IGBWLA Findings of Fact and Final Order issued on Oct. 26, 2020.
A spokesman for the state agency told WANE 15 the group has mailed roughly 300 checks via USPS First Class mail to eligible claimants. To date, approximately 98% of the checks issued have been deposited by the eligible claimants.
The Indiana Grain Buyers and Warehouse Licensing Agency told WANE 15 that the state is working to process all eligible payments as efficiently as possible and in accordance with state statutes. In accordance with Indiana Code 26-4-6-4(c), the Indiana Grain Indemnity Corporation Board of Directors may only issue partial payments to any claimants who have not appealed their claims. Farmers could receive more than the 80% amount already issued at a later date.
Final payments to all claimants cannot be made until all appeals have been resolved. Currently, there are more than a dozen farmers who are in the appeal process with the state, a majority of which are looking to take legal actions against the IGBWLA.
The IGBWLA encourages all producers impacted by the Salamonie Mills, Inc. grain failure
s who believe they may be eligible to receive a payment or have not received their payments to contact the main office by phone at 317-232-1360, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.