Farmers reap electronic receipts

H.R.4788, the Grain Standards and Warehouse Improvement Act of 2000

A new law gives farmers the go-ahead to use electronic warehouse receipts

for all major commodities in federally licensed warehouses — a move that

will save them time and money.

President Clinton signed a law last week, the Grain Standards and Warehouse

Improvement Act of 2000 (H.R. 4788), designed to safeguard and streamline

storage and shipping of agricultural goods across the United States. It

will enable many farmers, who already are using e-commerce in their work,

to use electronic receipts instead of handwritten ones.

"[The new law] will make this program more relevant to today's agriculture

marketing system by allowing an electronic receipt from buyer to seller

across state and international boundaries," said Rep. Bill Barrett (R-Neb.),

chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's General Farm Commodities,

Resource Conservation and Credit Subcommittee.

Producers in the field and buyers at the market praised the legislation

as another step in using the Internet to help farmers cut their costs. They

also said it's a better way to document the sale of major commodities.

"It is a great tool to help cut costs and increase margins while still protecting

both the buyer and seller in a secured, guaranteed-payment transaction,"

said Warren Clark, e-agribusiness marketing consultant from West Dundee,

Ill.

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