Up to $80 million lost by Arkansas farmers

Officials at a legislative hearing Friday believe a failed business in Brinkley could cost Arkansas farmers up to $80 million.

Lots of farmers trusted Turner Grain to lock in a price and find a buyer for their crops. Some of those crops were harvested and sold. Some of those crops are still in the field. In both cases the advice to farmers was the same: hire an attorney. Tens of millions of dollars sucked out of any local economy will hurt. But to an already depressed Delta, the losses could devastate small farming towns and families. Some of those farmers gathered in the shadow of the State Capitol to learn more about how the present crisis involving Brinkley dealer Turner Grain and what needs to happen to prevent a repeat of the problem. Some ideas from other states include: * require all dealers or merchandisers to be licensed and submit financial reports * mandate legal written contracts between farmers and dealers * require dealers to be bonded and insured * require audits that would help catch problems before they reached the scope of what is being dealt with now. Lawmakers had a chance about 20 years ago to pass some of these initiatives, and one witness called the body's failure to do so..."shameful." "The farmers and the people that they deal with and the banking community and the ag lenders like Ag Heritage and Farm Credit and those people...I think they're going to demand, and when I say demand...they're going to want the legislature to do something," says Butch Calhoun, Secretary of Agriculture for the state of Arkansas. Committee members did approve a resolution to ask the Farm Service Agency to grant affected farmers additional time to repay any outstanding Commodity Credit Corporation loans. Air date: August 22nd, 2014