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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Veblen Area Growers Organizing to Demand Payment from Bankrupt MegaDairies

It appears farmers in northeast South Dakota may be getting organized to get fair treatment—or at least minimize their losses— from Richard Millner's Veblen East and Veblen West dairies. Veblen East is in receivership under AgStar; Veblen West is in bankruptcy. While lawyers are making $150 to $225 an hour handling the paper intricacies of bankruptcy, some farmers are trying to get their fellow growers to make one simple agreement: no one sells corn or silage to the Veblen dairies until the dairy pays the money it already owes to area farmers... and unless the dairy pays cash in full at the point of current sale.

Makes sense to me: if I were dealing with a business that could disappear in a cloud of legal dust tomorrow, I wouldn't deliver my goods or service and take "Send me a bill" for an answer. If the Veblen dairies have cash to keep lawyers fat and happy, they can pay the farmers who keep the cows fat and milky.

Organizing independent farmers is more complicated as herding cats, but it's worth a shot. Marshall County neighbors, protect your interests, and only sell your feed for cash, not promises.

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