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Published June 18, 2012, 03:41 PM

Central Valley makes offer on Falkirk elevator

FARGO, N.D. — A Red River Valley elevator has made an offer on a financially troubled grain and dry edible bean elevator in McLean County, N.D.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

FARGO, N.D. — A Red River Valley elevator has made an offer on a financially troubled grain and dry edible bean elevator in McLean County, N.D.

Art Perdue, interim manager at Falkirk Farmers Elevator Co., in Falkirk, N.D., confirmed that members will vote Monday, June 25 whether to accept a purchase offer by Central Valley Bean Co-op of Buxton, N.D., on the Falkirk facility.

The Falkirk co-op held informational meetings on June 18 in Hazen, N.D., and in Washburn, N.D., in the afternoon, to talk about the company’s financial situation, and discuss a possible liquidation plan.

The vote will take place at 7 p.m., Monday, at Washburn Memorial Hall.

Falkirk Farmers Elevator also owns a facility in Hazen, but it is being sold separately and is being discontinued as a grain delivery facility. A fracking company has expressed verbal interest in purchasing it. This would possibly be part of the liquidation plan.

Late last week, members received a letter in the mail, inviting them to informational meetings on June 18, but officials waited to give information about the potential buyer until the meeting. Details about the amount of the offer were not immediately known. The North Dakota Public Utilities Commission said there were no pending applications for grain brokerage licenses at the facility.

Falkirk Farmer’s Elevator stopped buying grain in mid-April when financial problems caused it to stop delivering chemical and seed that was already paid for. Farmers were not compensated for about $3 million in inputs that they had to replace to plant the 2012 crop.

The PUC is responsible for unpaid grain contracts including individual farmers who are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars. The co-op so far has not filed for bankruptcy protection. It isn’t clear whether liquidation — including an auction for the rolling stock equipment — might be used to pay off farmers and others who have claims against the company. The company hasn’t discussed exactly what caused the financial problems.

Falkirk Farmers Elevator also had some dealings with St. Hilaire Seed Co. in Mentor, Minn., which was sold to Legumex Walker Inc., a company based in Winnipeg Manitoba. Legumex also bought some of the assets of Anderson Seed Co., which was owned by the owners of St. Hilaire Seed.

Central Valley Bean Co-op manager Gary Fuglesten was out of the office on Monday and didn’t immediately return a phone message, requesting an interview.

Founded in 1982, Central Valley handles navy and pinto beans and recently expanded for a total of 800,000 hundredweight of storage, including a recent purchase of the Larimore Bean Co. The company was planning on adding black beans.

Central Valley Bean had 350 active members as of late May. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Falkirk Farmers Elevator members could become members of Central Valley Bean.

Central Valley Bean has receiving stations in Washburn, Devils Lake, Hatton, Reynolds, Pisek, Kloten and Lankin in North Dakota and in East Grand Forks, Minn., Fuglesten told Agweek in a story, published May 29.

Canners, packagers and dehydrating companies from across the United States buy the co-op’s pinto beans, Fuglesten said. It also markets 50- and 100-pound bags of beans to smaller businesses, such as grocery store chains, under the name of Valiant. Valiant is the mascot for Central Valley School near Buxton.

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