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Truckers Put in Park by Grain Broker Default

As talk continues on regulations and possible help for southern farmers hit by a grain broker's default, Arkansas truckers say they've taken a hit that could put them under as well.
AUBREY, AR - The struggle goes on to sort out the default of an Arkansas grain broker and its impact on southern farmers.

As talk continues on regulations and possible help for those farmers, some Arkansas truckers say they've also taken a hit that could put them under as well.

According to many folks, this controversy really could't come at a worst time from the agriculture industry in Arkansas.

Right now is the time crops are being harvested from fields. Those crops get delivered to the end buyer, thanks a lot of times, due to the help of truckers. But this broker development has put a lot of operations on hold with many scrambling to line up work.

"We're right at our peak of the busy time, and we're trying to start it with no money. Because we've lost everything toward our income," said Jeffery Davis, owner of Flat Creek trucking. 

This time of year, Davis' trucks would normally be rolling full speed ahead instead of sitting still. But as of two weeks ago, Davis got the call from Brinkley Truck Brokers to stop loading their trucks in Mississippi. 

"We got the call to shut it down," Davis said. "We didn't really know what was going on." 

Since then, rumor has bloomed into full out controversy. Dozens of farmers allege they have not been paid by Turner Grain Merchandising, a sister company with the same owners as Brinkley Truck Brokers. 

"We did a lot of business for Turner Grain," Davis said. "This is going to hurt a lot of people. We have drivers who need to be paid and have families. We have fuel bills, truck notes and insurance payments that need to be made."

According to Davis, the last check he received as payment for his work with Turner Grain bounced. 

"Our last settlement wasn't any good, didn't clear the bank They owe us two since then," he said. "That's three weeks of income that we don't have to work with." 

Davis and fellow trucker Troy Long said they are facing tens of thousands of dollars in losses. With a narrow margin to operate on, they and other truckers in the area could be put in park permanently. 

"This is our living and if we lose it, we're had," Davis said. "We got to get out here and go to work. We need the farmers to survive, because we rely on them. But we need to be able to stay in business, too."

"Their check bounced, made my checks bounce," Long said. "I kind of was out there not knowing what to do or what was going to happen. I just want to see my money so I can get back to work and pay my bills."

Most discussions have centered around how the farmers in the area will make up their losses. Davis and Long said they want the farmers to recover, because truckers rely on producers to stay in business. 

Long and Davis said they just hope that as talk of regulation and help for those impacted continues, that truckers might also be considered.
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