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South Dakota grain dealer, US Bank working to avoid elevator shutdown

The Roslyn Elevator and US Bank need to present an agreement to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission before the end of June 2022 to keep the business going. A shutdown could leave farmers being owed money.

South Dakota Capitol building
The South Dakota Capitol building in Pierre, South Dakota.
Mikkel Pates / Agweek
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PIERRE, S.D. — A financially troubled grain elevator and its bank have until the end of the month to work out a deal in order for the elevator to keep its operating license.

The Roslyn Elevator in northeast South Dakota has in recent months been operating under the supervision of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission as it tries to return to profitability.

The elevator’s license is set to expire at the end of June, with it up to the PUC to decide whether to renew it.

During a Thursday, June 16, meeting, commissioners indicated they would not renew the license without a forbearance agreement with U.S. Bank. Such an agreement would keep U.S. Bank from foreclosing on the elevator.

If the elevator were to shut down, it would mean that farmers owed money by the elevator would be at risk of not getting paid.

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John Mullen, an attorney for the elevator, and Charlie Nelson, an attorney representing US Bank, both indicated that they have been negotiating an agreement to keep the elevator going in Roslyn, a town of 180 people about 50 miles east of Aberdeen in Day County.

If the elevator and bank can reach a deal, another meeting of the PUC would be scheduled before the end of the month to review the agreement and vote on a license renewal.

“I hope we can get something figured out so we can stay in business,” said Steve Schmidt, who owns and operates the elevator with his wife Marcia.

While the elevator has been operating under supervision of the PUC, it has been doing only cash and no credit sales, “which has dramatically improved the elevator’s equity position in a short period of time,” Mullen said.

State supervision would likely continue as part of the license renewal.

The PUC stepped in to help manage the elevator in February. PUC records indicate that staff first met with the elevator owners in May 2021.

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