“This money should’ve been in my hands in December.”
– KYLE KORNEYCHUK
Some of the cash Sean Gryba was counting on for spring seeding is last year’s Nexera canola sitting in his bins. He’s not happy.
During an interview May 5 the young farmer from Gilbert Plains said according to the contract he has with Louis Dreyfus he should have delivered and been paid for about 75 per cent of the Nexera canola he contracted to the company in Yorkton, Sask. Instead, he’d delivered just 10 per cent or about 1,000 bushels as of early May.
“It’s seeding time,” Gryba said. “I need the money.”
In a followup interview May 27, Gryba said he had delivered another 3,300 bushels and was 50 per cent delivered.
In the meantime, Dreyfus has paid a $2-a-tonne storage fee. Gryba said he would have preferred to have been paid in full and delivered when the company could take it. Louis Dreyfus rejected the idea when he suggested it.
While happy to get more canola sold, Gryba said it was frustrating waiting three hours to unload. Problems with Dreyfus’s grain pit meant it took 20 to 30 minutes to unload instead of five, he said.
Gryba said he’s heard of other farmers having the same problems delivering to Louis Dreyfus at Yorkton. Kyle Korneychuk, who farms at Pelly, Sask., is one of them. He didn’t deliver his first load until May 20, while in the middle of seeding.
“This money should’ve been in my hands in December,” he said via cellphone still waiting to unload after being in line two hours. “You know what their response was? Go get a canola advance (payment).”
There’s a cost to an advance payment – a loan against stored grain repaid when the farmer delivers – Korneychuk said.
“When I sign a contract I expect it to mean something,” he added.
Louis Dreyfus had offered to take some of Korneychuk’s canola earlier but he declined because the firm wouldn’t let him deliver a full load. Korneychuk is 140 km away from Yorkton.
Both Korneychuk and Gryba said if the shoe were on the other foot Louis Dreyfus wouldn’t hesitate to come after them for failing to fulfil their contracts.
“You have to be a lawyer to deal with these guys,” Gryba said.
Both farmers suspect growing pains as Louis Dreyfus brings its new crushing plant into operation are behind the delay in taking deliveries.
“I can understand having problems, well phone me and tell me,” Korneychuk said. “They fired some staff and nobody ever bothered to tell me. Nobody followed up on their contracts.”
Gryba complained he had problems getting Louis Dreyfus to return his phone calls. And when he did talk to someone, they’d promise he could deliver in a week or so, but it never happened.
“Then I started emailing so I could have something in writing,” he said.
Brian Conn, merchandising manager for Louis Dreyfus Commodities, did not respond to repeated requests for comment from the company.
According to publ i shed reports, Conn said Louis Dreyfus will take delivery of its Nexera contacts by the middle of August, ensuring farmers can clean out their bins for the new crop.
“We’re going to be able to catch up, we believe, pretty quickly over the next 60 to 90 days to get ourselves current with the growers and get cleaned up here for the balance of the crop year,” Conn was quoted as saying.
Dreyfus admits in letters to farmers it hasn’t lived up to its delivery schedule and asks for patience as it seeks buyers for Nexera oil.
Nexera canola oil is high in oleic fatty acid. That means it has all the health benefits of regular canola oil, but can be used much longer in deep fryers. As a result it can replace hydrogenated vegetable oils, which also can be used for extended periods, but contain unhealthy trans fats.
The recession has slowed the U. S. restaurant business and sales of Nexera oil, David Dzisiak of Dow AgroScience, the firm that developed and markets Nexera canola, said in an interview last week.
“I know that Dreyfus has worked very hard to work with its growers,” said Dzisiak, commercial leader of the oils and grains group. “I believe it has a program in place for delivery and it will satisfy the growers’ need to get the crop moved.” [email protected]