Agriprocessors suppliers hoping for payment - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Agriprocessors suppliers hoping for payment


By John Wilmer

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Some Iowa livestock farmers worry they'll get left out in the cold in Agriprocessors bankruptcy. Monday night, those farmers got some answers from the USDA.

Agriprocessors filed for chapter 11 protection a little more than a month ago. But the company still owes Iowa farmers millions of dollars for livestock and chickens.

The producers that gathered at the Grand Harbor Resort in Dubuque were looking for one thing: what they are owed. One producer from Southern Iowa said he sent a truck to Agriprocessors in October and he still hasn't been paid. He's looking for what he's owed, plus interest.

A little over a dozen livestock producers filled this conference room. All are looking for answers from the USDA.

"We have contacted every livestock seller and through this meeting we're going to see if there are any others that weren't on the list because of incomplete records," said Jay Johnson of the USDA.

Officials with the USDA say there adequate assetts in a trust to repay all producers. But in the end, it's not up to them.

"When will payment be made, I think it's important to realize that the Department of Agriculture is not responsible for making that determination," said Johnson. "It's now in the bankruptcy court and the bankruptcy judge will make a determination on when payments can be made."

20 claims have been filed on behalf of the poultry producers, 25 on behalf of the cattle producers. In the end it will be up to the bankruptcy court judge to determine which claims are valid.

A judge ruled Agriprocessors' bankruptcy hearing wll be held in Cedar Rapids with a hearing, likely, later this week. Meanwhile, Florida-based Quantum Partners, Inc. has made an offer to buy a controlling interest in Agriprocessors and buyout its debt.

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