New regulations for grain dealers advanced

A bill advanced from general file March 30 would regulate the financial obligations of Nebraska grain dealers.

Introduced by Wahoo Sen. Jerry Johnson, LB183 would decrease grain dealer obligations covered by the dealer’s security, which is money set aside to pay growers who are not paid immediately upon delivery of their product.

The bill would limit the dealer security to cover payment only to growers who sell directly to dealers. The bill would not prevent owners who are not growers from claiming past due payments or grain purchasers from filing claims stemming from dealers’ failure to deliver.

The bill also would shorten from 30 to 15 days the time a grower may demand payment from the dealer, attempt payment negotiations with the dealer or notify the Public Service Commission of an apparent loss. Additionally, the bill would remove a requirement that all grain transportation vehicles be registered and issued grain dealer plates.

The commission’s grain department is responsible for the licensing and enforcement of the Grain Dealer Act.

Johnson said the bill stems from the commission’s 2014 closing of Pierce Elevator Inc., following its failure to fulfill contracts to pay farmers and deliver grain. LB183 would protect grain producers by alerting the commission earlier to potential difficulties that grain dealers may have in fulfilling their payment obligations, he said.

Cedar Rapids Sen. Kate Sullivan supported the bill. The failed elevator was in her district, she said, and its inability to pay farmers hurt many people in the area.

An Agriculture Committee amendment, adopted 26-0, clarifies that accountants or accounting firms preparing statements for grain dealership license applicants may be located in any state.

Senators advanced the bill on a 27-0 vote.

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