The State Agriculture Department is considering changes to its Producer Security program. The program provides coverage for Ag producers, in the event that a major buyer is unable to pay its bills.
Jeremy McPherson, director of the Bureau of Business Trade Practices at DATCP, says restructuring is being considered after the program was last changed in 2002. At that time, the formula used to determine how much companies were to pay into the system was changed. The state was supposed to purchase bonds to back-up the fund, but has been unable to fulfill that requirement because of changes in the investment market since then.
The fund currently contains about $8 million, but McPherson says it would be unable to cover a large default by some companies in the state who have nearly $20 million in debt.
McPherson says DATCP wants to restructure the fund again, and is planning statewide hearings to determine what level of coverage Wisconsin Ag producers need. They'll be held this month in Eau Claire, Green Bay, and Madison.