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Nebraska grain buyer fined $28,000 in South Dakota

A business from Nebraska and one with offices in South Carolina and Minnesota were buying grain without a license, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission says.

Corn pouring out of a bin
Workers empty corn kernels from a grain bin.
Reuters file photo

PIERRE, S.D. — A Nebraska grain trader that operated for more than two years without a license is being fined $28,000.

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission on Thursday, April 14, approved the fine against Crossroads Cooperative of Sidney, Nebraska.

PUC Chairman Chris Nelson noted that the fine was higher than other cases where business have bought grain without a license, in part because "there was a pattern of no response" when PUC staff contacted Crossroads.

Lisa Carter, chief financial officer, said she was not aware Crossroads was not licensed in South Dakota when she joined the company in fall 2021, but assured the PUC that management changes mean Crossroads will be compliant and responsive.

The PUC website now lists Crossroads as a licensed grain buyer.

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A PUC complaint says Crossroads made more than 700 grain purchases without a license. The most recent purchase was made Feb, 8, 2022, after the state said it had repeatedly warned Crossroads of the need to be licensed.

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Tom Jeffers, an attorney who says he has worked with Crossroads for more than 20 years, said that the company's "history is not consistent with what happened in South Dakota."

Commissioner Kristie Fiegen said the case "reminds grain buyers doing business in South Dakota that you have to have a license, you must have a bond and must have current financial statements to the PUC in a timely manner.”

In its March 29 meeting, the commission fined Atlantic Grain and Trade $10,000 for operating without a license. Atlantic is headquartered in South Carolina with an office in Chaska, Minnesota, and primarily bought birdseed ingredients.

Reach Jeff Beach at jbeach@agweek.com or call 701-451-5651 (work) or 859-420-1177.
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