Public Service Commission takes possession of Nebraska grain elevators

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Posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 12:19 am, Wed Jul 9, 2014.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission took possession of grain at elevators in Pierce, Foster and Randolph, Neb., Wednesday after Pierce Elevator Inc. surrendered its warehouse and grain dealer licenses because it lost its line of operating credit.

John Fecht, head of the commission’s grain division, said it’s too early to say whether there would be financial losses among the grain owners after the matter is sorted out. Brian Bargstadt, president of the elevator company, declined to comment.

Fecht said Citizens State Bank office in Laurel, Neb., canceled the credit line, which meant the company could not write checks or otherwise conduct business.

Examiners from the commission went to the elevators Wednesday morning to inventory the grain, examine the company’s records and start the process of sorting out its financial obligations, selling the grain and dividing the proceeds among the “rightful owners,” Fecht said.

If the sale proceeds fall short of what the owners are owed, $880,000 in bonds posted by the company would be tapped. If that falls short, he said, any loss would be shared among the grain owners.

The commission held an emergency meeting Wednesday morning after the elevator company voluntarily surrendered the licenses Tuesday afternoon. The commissioners voted 4-0 to accept the licenses and take title to the grain.

The commission lists the company’s storage capacity at 2,312,726 bushels, out of a total state capacity of nearly 500 million bushels among 83 licensed grain storage companies.

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