Texas Agriculture September 2, 2016 : Page 8

The golden kernels of corn he nurtures to harvest are the life and career of Scott Renfro. They are the future of his farming family. But sometimes life gets difficult. 2009 is a year he will never forget. It’s the year his perspective changed forever. “Back in 2009, we had a local el-evator go under. It was an elevator we had been doing business with for 30 years or better,” Renfro, a farmer and Grayson County Farm Bureau vice president, said. “We didn’t ex-pect anything. Never had a clue. The next thing we knew, doors were get-ting shut down and locked and our grain was in there.” Grain elevators are vital, holding a grower’s livelihood in every bin. “Under the bankruptcy laws, they said, ‘Yes, it is your grain and you do own it, but it’s tied up in a facility that’s in bankruptcy so we couldn’t get it,” Renfro said. “All I cared about, along with all the other farmers around me, was just give me my grain.” The courts decided instead to sell the grain. And hold the funds until the bankruptcy was settled. The plan was then to distribute the money to the farmers. But by the time it was all over, there wasn’t much left to go around. “After a good year of being in bankruptcy, the money that was there in that account from the sale of our grain was pretty much gone,” he said. “And what was left after all the attorneys who were involved got their part out of it to get paid, we were left with pennies on the dollar.” Renfro only saw about four per-cent of what his grain was worth. Farmers like him struggled to survive. Some went out of business. Some are still trying to recover. Every relationship Renfro had was tested and strained. From his banker to his equipment dealer. Even his family. Renfro looked to his father-in-law, who’s farmed for 50 years, for advice. But he had never gone through any-thing like this either. Something had to change, Renfro said. FINANCING TEXAS FOR 100 YEARS S EPTEMBER 2 , 2016 HERE TO HELP YOU GROW. Texas never stops. Thanks to the financial support of Capital Farm Credit, neither do the farmers and ranchers who call her home. For nearly a century, we’ve helped rural Texans show the world what hard work can achieve. But the job is far from over. And as rural Texas grows further, we’ll be there. CapitalFarmCredit.com | 877.944.5500 NMLS4938 9 28 8 © 2 20 0 15 1 5 5A A ll r ight i ig igh s re e serv s se ed. ed d. d

A Kernel of Hope

Ed Wolff

The golden kernels of corn he nurtures to harvest are the life and career of Scott Renfro. They are the future of his farming family. But sometimes life gets difficult. 2009 is a year he will never forget. It’s the year his perspective changed forever.

“Back in 2009, we had a local elevator go under. It was an elevator we had been doing business with for 30 years or better,” Renfro, a farmer and Grayson County Farm Bureau vice president, said. “We didn’t expect anything. Never had a clue. The next thing we knew, doors were getting shut down and locked and our grain was in there.”

Grain elevators are vital, holding a grower’s livelihood in every bin.

“Under the bankruptcy laws, they said, ‘Yes, it is your grain and you do own it, but it’s tied up in a facility that’s in bankruptcy so we couldn’t get it,” Renfro said. “All I cared about, along with all the other farmers around me, was just give me my grain.”

The courts decided instead to sell the grain. And hold the funds until the bankruptcy was settled.

The plan was then to distribute the money to the farmers. But by the time it was all over, there wasn’t much left to go around.

“After a good year of being in bankruptcy, the money that was there in that account from the sale of our grain was pretty much gone,” he said. “And what was left after all the attorneys who were involved got their part out of it to get paid, we were left with pennies on the dollar.”

Renfro only saw about four percent of what his grain was worth.

Farmers like him struggled to survive. Some went out of business. Some are still trying to recover.

Every relationship Renfro had was tested and strained. From his banker to his equipment dealer. Even his family.

Renfro looked to his father-in-law, who’s farmed for 50 years, for advice. But he had never gone through anything like this either.

Something had to change, Renfro said.

“It opened my eyes and made me realize there needs to be something in place for this not to happen again,” he said.

Renfro believes a grain indemnity fund is the answer. One like the proposed Texas Grain Producer Indemnity Fund.

And he isn’t alone.

In the event of a claim, the Texas Grain Producer Indemnity Board would review the claim, identify the value of the grain lost and indemnify up to 85 percent of the value.

It’s a way for farmers to self-insure.

“I hope you realize as a farmer or a landowner your grain is only bonded for a few cents. So if you have a $4 bushel of grain, it’s only bonded for a few pennies,” Schronk said. “History repeats itself. And it may never happen to you, but it could be you tomorrow. You have no way of knowing. So why not pay a fraction of a cent to have the peace of mind to know you’re protected if something bad did happen.”

Nearly all major grain-producing states already have grain indemnity funds. And Renfro wishes Texas would get on board.

Otherwise, he warns, other farmers’ lives will be disrupted.

For more information on the fund, visit www.TexasGrainIndemnity.org.

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/A+Kernel+of+Hope/2577346/334294/article.html.

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