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Missouri agriculture report shows regulators could have prevented losses

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Problems with grain dealers have cost farmers in Missouri millions and may have been preventable.
Problems with grain dealers have cost farmers in Missouri millions and may have been preventable.

A report from the Associated Press noted that issues associated with two grain dealers in Missouri cost farm equipment users there $32 million.

The news organization cited a report made by state Grain Regulatory Services Auditor Susan Montee, who noted that some of the money could have been saved if regulators had acted more quickly while the grain dealers became insolvent.

By her calculations, about $11.4 million may have been lost through inaction. However, Montee said that her office is not actually blaming the state Department of Agriculture.

"These people were frauding up their numbers, but we are saying had they had tighter procedures they could have maybe caught it earlier," Montee told the AP.

The cases have led to charges against the grain dealers, Cathy Gieseker and Danny Froman. The former got a nine-year sentence, while the latter's case is pending, the AP said.

Jon Hagler, head of the state Agriculture Department, said his office has already introduced changes to try and improve its practices. He said the report presents an opportunity to try and protect farmers at a greater level.ADNFCR-2034-ID-19923021-ADNFCR

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