(a) A cotton grower who fails to pay, when due and upon reasonable notice, any assessment levied under this Article, shall be subject to a penalty of not more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per acre, as established in the Board's regulations.
(b) A cotton grower who fails to pay all assessments, including penalties, within 30 days of notice of penalty, shall destroy any cotton plants growing on his acreage which is subject to the assessment. Any such cotton plants which are not destroyed shall be deemed to be a public nuisance. The Commissioner may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to abate and prevent such nuisance. Upon judgment and order of the court, such nuisance shall be condemned and destroyed in the manner directed by the court. The grower shall be liable for all court costs and fees, and other proper expenses incurred in the enforcement of this section.
(c) In addition to any other remedies for the collection of assessments, including penalties, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has a lien upon cotton subject to such assessments. Provided, that any buyer of cotton shall take free of such lien if he has not received written notice of the lien from the Department or if he has paid for such cotton by a check in which the Department is named as joint payee. In any action to enforce the lien, the burden shall be upon the Department to prove that the buyer of cotton received written notice of the lien. A buyer of cotton other than a person buying cotton from the grower takes free of the lien created herein. (1983, c. 136, s. 7; 1987, c. 293; 1997-261, s. 109.)