Know Who You're Doing Business With
I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
Every year the WSDA receives numerous reports of farmers cheated out of money owed to them, often by unlicensed commodity dealers. WSDA's Agricultural Investigations Program manager, Jerry Buendel, talks about what producers themselves can do to ensure their protection against this type of fraud.
BUENDEL: Know who you're doing business with; most of the time it's a good idea to have a full name, address, phone number, and if you can get a vehicle license tag off the vehicle that they're using to move your product. The other thing we encourage folks to do, the farmers and producers, is to check on our website to see that these people are properly licensed. And then the other is have a contract. If it's a big sale, a big purchase, a contract is a good safe way to go; that way everybody understands what's being agreed upon, and then that gives you some protection and again gives us something to work with if things don't go well.
In 2014 the agency had a little over $340 thousand in formal cases filed and were able to recover roughly $320 thousand of that for producers.
BUENDEL: In some cases what we've had to do is go out and claim the bond; these companies have either gone bankrupt, or for some reason their finances were such that they couldn't make the payments. So we claim those bonds and then distribute the proceeds on a fair share basis to the producers that have come to us with claims.
Buendel says that producers who have a complaint should contact WSDA as soon as possible so that disputes can be settled quickly and economically. Typically there is no charge for the service unless the claim is very old.
That's Washington Ag Today.
I'm Lacy Gray with the Ag Information Network of the West.