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February 23, 2024

Shelby County Custom Farm Bids – Contract Awarded – Any Questions Or Concerns?

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On September 27, 2022

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

The Shelby County Board awarded the custom farming contract to Kenny Compton during last week’s special meeting as covered in this article.

We received a copy of the 6 bids received which can be downloaded at this link or viewed below.

While the full board voted to award the contract, not one person raised the question regarding two additional obligations that must be met.  The person awarded the contract must provide a bond in the amount of two (2) times greater than the amount of the submitted and accepted bid as well as provide a copy of the required insurance coverage.  We have asked for copies of the bond and proof of insurance and will update you upon the county’s receipt of those records.

Two other concerns appear to need to be cleaned up in the actual contract as it stands because there is no provision for actually paying the farmer to do the work outlined in the contract.

The operator agrees to submit to Shelby County an itemized written statement of completed work for spring planting season by December 15, 2022, for any fall work and by December 15, 2023, for 2023 crop year.

Does anyone see anything in the “Method of Payment” paragraph that informs either party how they are to be paid or when? I know it was discussed in the committee meetings however the contract makes no reference as to when the custom farmer is to be paid.

It appears the “Method Of Payment” paragraph was a cut and paste from a previous version as the current farming contract just awarded does not involve any spring planting work in 2022.  That should have been corrected to read fall planting work and then included dates when the first and last payments to the farmer would be made.

Two other paragraphs appear to conflict to some degree with what was agreed on by the full board.  The board voted to put the inputs out for bid, which include seed, fertilizer, etc.

Shelby County will be responsible for purchasing all seed, fertilizer, herbicides, and other farm supplies. If the operator should incur any of these expenses, a copy of the invoice will be provided so that Shelby County can reimburse the operator for the expense.

Why would the farmer incur any such expense? The request for bids did not include buying seed, fertilizer, or herbicides.

More conflicting language is in the paragraph titled “LENGTH OF TENURE”

The operator agrees that this Custom Fann Agreement is purely a contractual license to use the Subject Property for farming purposes for the 2022-2023 farming season, beginning on the first day following removal of beans in 2022 and terminating on December 31, 2023. To the extent
permitted by law, Shelby County may terminate this Agreement at any time and for any reason by giving thirty (30) days notice in writing to that effect to the operator. In the event of any termination by Shelby County, it is agreed that Shelby County shall reimburse the operator for incurred costs related to purchasing of seed, fertilizer, herbicides, farm supplies, and other farming expenses completed but not paid, upon the operator providing a copy of the invoice(s) for incurred costs. Other than reimbursement for incurred costs as provided in this contract, the operator hereby waives its rights to request or seek any other monetary amount from Shelby County in the event the Custom Farm Agreement granted herein is terminated.

Considering seed, fertilizer, and herbicides were not part of the bidding process, why would any such reimbursement language be in this contract?  Another item outlined is reimbursement of “farm supplies”, both in the “Length of Tenure” paragraph and the “Procurement Of Supplies” paragraph.  Unfortunately, the contract does not define what “farm supplies” means.  This item was also a concern raised during a farm committee meeting but no clarifying language found its way into the final signed contract.

In closing, the reason the lowest responsible bidder was awarded the contract is that it means the taxpayers pay less than if they had selected the high bidder.  This is the whole purpose of putting things out for bid, to save taxpayers money. Why on earth do we mention this?

Listen real close to Larry Lynn’s question to Board Member Durbin after the vote to award the contract to the lowest bidder was taken.

“How’s come we went with the lower bid?”

Why would such a question be asked after voting Yes?  One would think the time to ask the question is before you vote on the matter. More importantly, if an explanation as to why the low bid was selected is necessary, it might be time to step off the board in our opinion.

Custom Farm Bids 2022





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1 Comment
  • Justice Seeker
    Posted at 12:49h, 27 September

    Another woeful contract in Shelby County. Open ended and taxpayers will have no protection when claims are submitted. State’s Attorney will claim interpretation and more money would flow out the door.
    If a board member questions or treasurer asks for clarification they will be advised to just pay. Then again this is not the bidder the “family” wanted so maybe this will be a mute point.