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Nebraska agency sets January hearing for South Dakota grain trader accused of operating without a license

The Nebraska Public Service Commission will hold hearings on companies associated with Jeremey Frost of South Dakota for trading grain without a license in that state. One related company, Banghart Properties LLC, of Gettysburg, South Dakota, recently acquired a grain trading license in North Dakota after licensing infractions in South Dakota.

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Jeremey Frost, grain marketing adviser from Onida, S.D., through his Fearless Grain Marketing LLC is seeking $8.5 million in an arbitration case with Indigo Ag Inc, through the National Grain and Feed Association. Indigo has said the dispute belongs in its related federal lawsuit against Frost. Photo taken March 2021, Onida, S.D. Mikkel Pates / Agweek
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LINCOLN, Nebraska — The Nebraska Public Service Commission has scheduled a hearing at 10 a.m., Jan. 5, 2022, to hear arguments in an October 2021 complaint filed against companies associated with Jeremey Frost of the Gettysburg, South Dakota, area.

The companies are accused of buying grain without a license in that state.

The complaint formally is against Banghart Properties LLC, also known as: Fearless Grain Marketing Storage and Arbitrages, Fearless Grain Marketing, and Fearless Grain. It accuses the entities of “taking possession of grain without issuing written communication compliant with Commission rules.”

The hearing will be held in the commission hearing room in Lincoln and via WebEx. Information on connecting to the hearing via WebEx can be found on the PSC meeting/hearing information page of the PSC website .

Fearless Grain is headed by Jeremy Frost and related companies are owned by his mother, Jan K. Banghart, of Gettysburg. Frost previously had licensing issues in South Dakota as well.

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Banghart Properties LLC, was registered in South Dakota on June 22, 2018, at 126 Hilltop Drive, Gettysburg, South Dakota. The registered agent is Jeremey’s mother, Jan Banghart. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission confirmed that Banghart Properties LLC had achieved a grain dealer’s license in June 2021, with the required $50,000 bond.

Frost, in a phone interview with Agweek on Oct. 26, 2021, said FGM has had difficulty operating in grain marketing since lawsuits with Indigo Ag . He said he now “works for” his mother, but said he doesn’t manage her grain transactions. He noted she has grain dealer licenses and bonds in Colorado, South Dakota, and pending applications in North Dakota.

Rob Konrad, of Pierre, South Dakota, an attorney both for Jeremey Frost and Banghart Properties LLC, earlier said his companies will “respond to all allegations” made by Nebraska authorities and that his clients “dispute some of important factual allegations” but wasn’t specific.

The Nebraska PSC on Oct. 22, 2021, opened a complaint against the companies, and ordered them to “cease and desist” all operations.

The company and its aliases will have to show why it should not pay a civil penalty for operating without a license. It isn’t clear how many of the infractions there are or what the penalty total would be.

Meanwhile, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, on Nov. 8, 2021, issued a roving grain buyer license to Banghart Properties. The permit is good through July 31, 2022, when all annual permits expire. The roving grain license requires applicants to carry a minimum of $100,000 bond, but would change according to purchase value, and can be adjusted based on monthly financial reports.

In a separate but related matter, Frost since May 2021 has been involved in an arbitration action with the National Grain and Feed Association against Indigo Ag Inc, claiming over $100 million in damages, including potential stock valuations. The parties in that case were to complete document replies as of Dec. 22, 2021, Frost said.

Frost had been operating as an adviser who brought farmers to Indigo Ag to sell sunflowers and other grain.

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Indigo Ag, meanwhile, sued Frost for $8.5 million in federal court for exceeding authority in committing farmers to deliver grain, among other issues. U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Parker, in Memphis, presides over the case.

Mikkel Pates is an agricultural journalist, creating print, online and television stories for Agweek magazine and Agweek TV.
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