Grain buyer and warehouse laws meeting – June 17 in Redfield

Farm Forum

REDFIELD – South Dakota Farmers Union will host an informational meeting Monday, June 17, at Redfield to discuss grain buyer and grain warehouse laws in South Dakota and North Dakota. The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. at the Redfield American Legion Hall, 612 N. Main Street, and is open to the public.

South Dakota Public Utilities Commission vice chairman Chris Nelson and representatives from both North Dakota and South Dakota’s grain buyer and grain warehouse regulatory staff will attend and give presentations on the state’s laws and rules regarding grain buying and warehousing and how the state’s regulations differ and where there is commonality.

Commissioner Chris Nelson plans to discuss recent legislation regarding grain buyer and warehouse legislation that passed the 2013 South Dakota Legislature. Jim Mehlhaff, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission’s warehouse division director, will give a presentation about South Dakota’s licensing and inspection program. The laws were changed this year in response to the insolvency of Minnesota-based Anderson Seed Company’s facility in Redfield in February of 2012 where producers lost an estimated $2.6 million.

On Tuesday, June 4, the SD Public Utilities Commission held a hearing on a proposed change to a contract rule where they turned down a request for a waiver of the rule and instead opened a docket to review the rule in its entirely. The rule review process will take place this summer.

Sue Richter, who serves as the licensing division director for the North Dakota Public Service Commission, will discuss how her state deals with grain warehouse and grain buyer bonds. She will also detail the state’s indemnity fund that was created several years ago to provide partial protection for unpaid credit-sale contracts in grain warehouse or grain buyer insolvencies.

“We’re extremely honored to have Commissioner Nelson, Mr. Mehlhaff and Ms. Richter join us for this very important meeting,” said South Dakota Farmers Union Legislative Director Mike Traxinger. “It will spur what we hope will be constructive discussion about South Dakota’s laws concerning grain buyers and warehouses. We’ll be able to see some of the pros and cons of North Dakota’s system, and discuss how South Dakota can best move forward to make sure producers are sufficiently protected if they sell grain to a company that has financial trouble.”

South Dakota Farmers Union will also give a brief presentation on its efforts in the last legislative session regarding grain buyers and warehouses and the family farm organization’s perspective on the next steps needed to further protect producers. Following the presentations there will be time for a question and answer period for producers to learn more about laws in both states.