The Ohio Senate agreed to the minor House amendment to SB 66, the bill which will update Ohio’s grain indemnity law.
Since the senate overwhelmingly supported the original bill, this was no surprise. What was a surprise was the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) being introduced as the former chairman of the Senate Ag Committee. Hite chuckled and went about his business in explaining the House amendment.
It turns out that earlier in the day, Hite was replaced as chairman by Sen. Bob Petersen (R-Washington Court House). Given the smiles on the floor on both senators’ faces, it appears that the change in leadership came as no surprise.
Based on discussion at the last Agricultural Commodity Advisory Commission, which oversees the grain warehouse program and grain indemnity fund, the one-half cent per bushel levy will begin to be collected at the beginning of 2014. The indemnity fund would be built up to its new cap of $15 million. Ohio Dept. of Agriculture officials say that based on past history, it will take around two years of collecting the levy to build up to the new cap. Another needed change contained in the bill is explicitly setting farmers as the primary lienholders if an elevator goes under. Finally, barley, oats, rye, grain sorghum, sunflower and speltz are removed from the list of commodities covered by the fund.
Of course this all dependent on Gov. Kasich’s signature which is expected soon.