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21 July 2011

Denison: New Grain Dealer Requirements, Farm-To-Table Advisory Board, Best Older Worker of 2011

“The ability to concentrate and to use your time well is everything if you want to succeed in business—or almost anywhere else for that matter.” –Lee Iacocca

New Grain Dealer Requirements Implemented to Protect Missouri Farmers

Governor Nixon signed a piece of legislation that will prevent future incidents similar to what we saw a few years ago when approximately 180 Missouri farmers were defrauded out of roughly $27 million. Cathy Gieseker of T.J. Gieseker Farms in Martinsburg is now in federal prison after an audit done by the state Agriculture Department found a host of fraudulent activity. In effect, Cathy Gieseker had lied to farmers by telling them she had lucrative contracts that allowed her to sell grain above market prices. Instead, she failed to make payments to farmers because she had no contract and instead sold grain at lower prices. The bill we passed this year (SB 356) will ensure history doesn’t repeat itself by modernizing our grain dealer laws and improving the protections our agriculture department provides to farmers. Under the new law, grain dealers will have to set aside a larger pool of money in order to remain solvent. Specifically, their assets will have to meet or exceed their liabilities. In addition, the bill will bring Missouri laws for grain elevators in line with national standards. The end goal is to ensure hardworking farm families aren’t cheated out of their money by irresponsible, fraudulent activity. I’m confident SB 356 gives us protections that will prevent what happened in Martinsburg from happening again.

Farm-to-Table Advisory Board

Governor Nixon also signed HB 344 into law. The bill establishes the Farm-to-Table Advisory Board to bring produce grown in Missouri to schools and other institutions more efficiently. The advisory board will look at current obstacles and make recommendations for statute and rule changes to make it easier for schools to purchase fresh, locally grown produce. The advisory board will help schools and other institutions find ways to provide fresh, healthier food choices that could encourage healthier eating behaviors and lifestyles.

Clean Water Fees

Another bill signed into law (HB 89) reinstates fees that provide the funding necessary for the state to carry out its federally delegated duties under the Clean Water Act. Commercial developers, home builders, manufacturers, utility companies, and livestock operations pay the fees for permission to discharge wastewater into streams and lakes. For the last budget year, the fees generated more than $4 million for clean water programs in Missouri. The fees expired in December, but HB 89 reinstates them until September 2013.

State Seeks Best Older Worker of 2011

Missouri’s annual Older Worker of the Year contest seeks to honor a Missouri resident who is 60 or older, employed at least 20 hours a week, and displays dependability and new skills on the job. The winner and regional finalists will be recognized at a two-day awards ceremony in November in Jefferson City.

Nomination forms for 2011’s Older Worker of the Year are available on the Department of Health and Senior Services’ Web site, Completed nomination forms must be postmarked or faxed by August 31, 2011.

The completed entry forms can be faxed to (573) 522-3024. They also can be mailed to: Missouri Outstanding Older Worker Contest, Division of Senior and Disability Services, Bureau of Senior Programs, P.O. Box 570, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0570. Nomination forms must include a narrative explaining why the nominee deserves to be selected Older Worker of the Year. For more information, please call 573-526-4542.

Interim Office Hours

Interim office hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Normal schedule will resume December 1, 2011. If you need to call me at home, my number is 417-887-3353.

I look forward to hearing from you. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Best wishes.

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