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Published May 07, 2012, 09:03 AM

PSC gets complaint on Falkirk, N.D., elevator

FARGO, N.D. — The North Dakota Public Service Commission on April 30 received a complaint about unpaid grain at Falkirk (N.D.) Farmers Elevator, the agency confirms. No action has been taken as yet.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

FARGO, N.D. — The North Dakota Public Service Commission on April 30 received a complaint about unpaid grain at Falkirk (N.D.) Farmers Elevator, the agency confirms. No action has been taken as yet.

PSC staffers say they are conferring with elevator officials and lawyers, the commissioners and attorneys in the department and in the Attorney General’s office to determine the next step. Complaints sometimes trigger a petition to become trustee of the bond, but that wasn’t the case on May 2.

Licensing division staffers say the complaint involves a farmer who had delivered a total of 5,634 bushels of barley in six loads to the company’s Hazen, N.D., location and had been trying to get a check. Two of the scale tickets didn’t include dates, but two that were dated were as of March 30 and 31.

Falkirk Farmers Elevator has been closed since about April 13. About 40 farmers with more than $2 million in prepaid seed, fertilizer and chemical have been forced to buy inputs from other sources.

Meanwhile, there are three formal insolvencies for elevators pending with the PSC.

• Mitchell Feeds, a roving grain broker from Hendrum, Minn., with no North Dakota location. Some farmers filed a lawsuit in Minnesota and a bank that has a security interest has intervened because it has a lien on sunflowers. Farmers in North Dakota are claiming in Burleigh County District court that the grain is theirs, and should be part of a trust for their protection, and that the bank’s lien is second. No figures are available even though the case was filed Feb. 1, 2011.

• Grabanski Grain of Grafton, N.D., is in federal bankruptcy. The PSC is trying to complete a report and recommendation on claims by May, in preparation for a scheduled hearing in insolvency court on June 20 in Grafton. Preliminary claims total about $185,000 for cash sales and $379,000 for credit sale contracts, with up to 80 percent covered.

• Anderson Seed Co. based in Mentor, Minn., with facilities in North Dakota and South Dakota, involves about $2.6 million in claims in North Dakota, including cash and credit, with some ambiguity about which of three states is the appropriate venue.

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