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grain elevators

Just this week – the grain elevator licensing and inspection program transferred from the Public Service Commission to the state Agriculture Department.

And already, the Ag department is dealing with an elevator insolvency.

Commissioner Doug Goehring said JM Grain of Garrison has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and his office will be asking a court to name it the trustee.

A member of the North Dakota Public Service Commission is raising some questions concerning a plea deal federal prosecutors reached with a grain trader from Leeds, who investigators allege was running his grain business like a Ponzi scheme.

Under the deal, 22 year old Hunter Hanson will plead guilty to federal charges of money laundering and wire fraud. He operated grain elevators in Tunbridge and Rohrville, and had a roving grain buyer’s license.

The deal said Hanson will forfeit his assets, and he will pay restitution of $11.4 million, owed to creditors.

The state Agriculture Department is preparing to take over grain elevator licensing and inspection from the Public Service Commission.

The 2019 Legislature passed the measure to make that transfer.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said his office is working on the transition.

"That means visiting with the PSC, and starting to fully understand what's going to have to move," Goehring said. "It also means we will start hiring in the near future."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission is asking the courts to make it the trustee in an insolvency case for a roving grain buyer and grain warehouse license holder.

Hunter Hanson has a roving grain buyer business, as Midwest Grain Trading of Devils Lake, as well as two elevators at Tunbridge and Rohrville. The PSC began the action after receiving complaints from producers.

The PSC has filed actions in both Burleigh County District Court and the Pierce County District Court to be named as trustee.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has issued a “cease and desist” order against a Devils Lake man who owned both a grain elevator company and held a roving grain buyer’s license.

The PSC said it has received a number of complaints against Hunter Hanson and his two companies, NoDak Grain and Midwest Grain Trading, for bounced checks and unpaid contracts. The commission has received more than 50 contacts about this, and four client complaints have been filed.

Midwest Grain Trading has elevators in Tunbridge and Rohrville.

Elevator insolvency case nearly closed

Oct 25, 2017

A nearly three year old elevator insolvency case has been closed.

Almost.

It involves the Grand Forks Bean Company. That elevator dealt with edible beans. It went into insolvency after not being able to pay farmers’ claims.

The last such claim has now been paid. The courts said Curt Amundson had a “credit sale” contract with Grand Forks Bean. Public Service Commissioner Randy Christmann said Amundson was paid from the Credit Sale Contract Indemnity Fund.

The Public Service Commission is proposing new rules that would increase the amount of bonding a grain elevator has to carry.

Commissioner Randy Christmann holds the elevator portfolio. He says there’s been some concern over bonding covering payments to farmers when an elevator goes bankrupt.

"The bottom line is -- there have been some very minimal repayments to producers<" said Christmann. And he says the last time this was addressed was in 1999.

Northwood elevator re-opens with new owners

Jun 27, 2014

A grain elevator in Northwood – which was involved in a bankruptcy several years ago – will be re-opening,

Northwood Mills went bankrupt after a multi-million dollar order for soybeans was cancelled – and the company didn’t have enough money to pay creditors. Now, a new company – Prairie Premium Oil – is reopening the facility and its associated processing plant – to process canola.

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.

A hearing will be held in state district court in Fargo next month on a settlement the North Dakota Public Service Commission reached with a Mentor, Minnesota – based seed company.

Anderson Seed had been declared insolvent in February 2012. The company dealt in sunflower seeds.  It had a processing plant in Redfield, South Dakota – which it shut down without paying farmers for their seed. North and South Dakota farmers claimed they were owed $5 million in unpaid seed deliveries.

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