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Goehring suggests changes in grain elevator regulation

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says he is asking the 2021 Legislature to rewrite some of the regulations concerning grain elevators.

Goehring made some of the proposals to the Legislature’s interim Agriculture and Transportation Committee.

"They do clean up a lot of the antiquated language that was in statute," Goehring said. "We were asked by the Legislature to simplify, clarify and bring about some true accountability, and address some of the concerns and issues that have plagued the industry and farmers who have been selling their grain."

Goehring said one of the changes is moving away from a “volume-based” system for bonding, coverage and licensing, to a “value based” system.

"It only make sense," Goehring said. "We do that with livestock."

Under the regulation, as the value of a product goes up, then the licensing and bonding requirements go up as well.

"If you think about where a bushel of oats is in value versus a bushel of soybeans, you have a lot of different liabilities and concerns, because something can be hundreds of thousands of dollars in difference in value," Goehring said.

Goehring also said the current regulations don’t take into account elevators and processors that have a high turnover rate in their crops.

"What do you do when you're working with a processor who only has 50,000 bushels of capacity, but is always turning that over every four days?" Goehring said. "All of a sudden, they're not just handling 50,000 bushels of product -- they're handling millions of dollars worth of product."

The interim Committee is studying the issue.

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