Turner Grain Possibly Tilting Toward Bankruptcy

(Editor's Note: This story went to press on Thursday, Aug. 14. The next day, Arkansas House Speaker Davy Carter wrote to the House Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee urging action to protect farmers. A newer version of this story, with new information, appears here.)

Our sources on the commodities beat tell us that Turner Grain Merchandising Inc. of Brinkley is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy protection.

And the losses, two sources have told us, could be in the millions.

We don’t have many more details at this time. We tried to reach officials at Turner Grain, including President Dale Bartlett and Vice President Jason Coleman, but they didn’t immediately respond on Thursday afternoon.

Incorporated in 2002, Turner Grain acts as a middle man between the farmer and the client who wants to buy the grain. It will buy the farmer’s supply and hold it until a customer wants to purchase it.

But holding grain can be risky because of swings in commodity prices.

Our source told us that Turner Grain came out on the losing end when it hedged its bets against volatility in the market. The source said that when Turner tried to make up for losses, the losses only increased.