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Environmental study delays Redfield, SD, plant sale

FARGO, N.D. -- The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission revoked Anderson Seed Co.'s grain buyers license at its Redfield, S.D., plant, but will not put the company's elevator property into receivership because of an environmental issue, officials say.

Some $2.6 million is owed to 38 farmers in the state for unpaid grain, says Chris Nelson, the SDPUC chairman. The state has a $100,000 bond that could apply to $2.2 million of the amount owed. Another $400,000 owed is for deferred price contracts, in which the farmer transfers title and effectively extends credit to the company.

The SDPUC initially considered putting Anderson Seed Co. real estate assets into receivership, but decided against that because the company said its plant, built on an old Redfield landfill site, was being evaluated for environmental issues.

Nelson says the SDPUC determined that all of the grain assets in the facility had been sold to Legumex Walker Inc., but says he couldn't reveal when. He confirmed that the SDPUC staff determined seed and product was sold to the Canadian-based company "at fair market price." Meanwhile, Legumex is in the process of buying the facility, and has made itself a secured creditor. He says it appears any dollars from sale proceeds will go to secured creditors, including US Bank.

• North Dakota -- $1.4 million is owed to 30 or 40 farmers. North Dakota Public Service Commission is in charge of a $285,000 bond.

• Minnesota -- An unknown amount is owed to Minnesota farmers. Notices to invite claims were published in the Feb. 21 and 28 issues of the Fertile (Minn.) Crescent newspaper, says Ashley Hacker, a senior state program administrator for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Fruit, Vegetable and Grain Division. Hacker says it took one valid Minnesota claim to initiate the insolvency declaration. She says Minnesotans have until June 5 to file claims on a $125,000 bond.