Elevator bankruptcy settlement proposed

Mar 27, 2014

The Public Service Commission will be filing a report and recommendation to the district court in a grain elevator insolvency case.

Earth Harvest Mills – doing business as Dakota Prairie Organic Flour – had an elevator in Harvey that went bankrupt in 2013. There were a number of claims filed as credit sale contract claims and cash claims. On the credit sale side, $4.3 million worth of claims were filed – and the commission found that $2.4 million of the credit sales claims were valid, meaning they could receive up to 80 percent of their claim through the state credit sale indemnity fund. Commissioner Randy Christmann says two of the claims exceeded the statutory limit of $280,000. He says once the court agrees and the appeals are exhausted, claimants will split $949,000. For the $81,000 in cash claims filed, the claimants will receive 62 percent, based on the $50,000 bond Earth Harvest Mills had on the elevator.

"It's been a painful process," said Christmann. "There never is a good resolution when something like this happens. You do the best you can, and want to call it good, but it's never really good."

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak says these kinds of insolvencies point out some things that farmers need to be aware of.

"Producers need to convert their scale tickets in a timely manner," said Fedorchak. "They also need to know who they're doing business with."

The recommendation will be before the Wells County District Court in May.