Is there truth to the saying 'the good die young?' Friends and family of John Steinhart would agree with that clichÃ©.
John Glen Steinhart III passed away at age 53. An Indianapolis resident, he was Deputy Director of the Indiana Grain Buyers and Warehouse Licensing Agency. Bob Benson heads up that agency as its director. It's the agency that makes sure that elevators within Indiana are operating according to the rules. When an elevator gets into financial trouble, itâ€™s the warehousing agency within the Office of the Commissioner of Agriculture that's called in to try to sort through the mess.
Elevators going bankrupt isn't as big a threat today to farmers in terms of potential money lost on grain stored there thanks to the Indiana Grain Indemnity Fund. This fund, supported by check-offs from farmers who participate, is designed to pay out claims to farmers in case an elevator goes bankrupt and the farmer is left holding the bag.
Don Villwock, an Edwardsport, Ind., farmer and president of Indiana Farm Bureau, Ind., praises Steinhart's efforts throughout his career. "He was a great public servant," Villwock says. "And he was a key player in establishing and supporting the Indiana Grain Indemnity Fund."
Indiana Farm Bureau also played a key role in establishing the fund, which came into being last decade. Most other neighboring states instituted funds for farmers' own protection long before Indiana did so.
"John truly believed in protecting Indiana farmers from elevator bankruptcy and protecting the integrity of the grain industry," Villwock continues. "Indiana farmers have lost a great servant."
Steinhart was not new to the grain industry. He began his career 35 years ago through a family business. At the time of his death, he was also serving as president of the American Association of Warehouse Control Officials.
Our condolences go out to his family.