Grain storage rule clarification advances

Lawmakers advanced a bill Feb. 23 that would clarify a provision regarding the distribution of assets if a grain warehouse fails.

LB730, introduced by Sen. Jerry Johnson of Wahoo, would clarify a rule under which a person who has recently sold grain to a warehouse may regain their status as an owner eligible for distribution of assets if the Public Service Commission takes control of the warehouse.

Warehouses are required to post bonds for the benefit of those who own or store grain there in the event the warehouse fails. If that happens, only qualified owners are eligible for the distribution of assets.

An exception in current law provides that the grain seller may revert to the status of owner if he or she holds a check in payment issued within five days of the date the commission takes control of the warehouse. LB730 would clarify that the exception applies to the date of the sale and transfer of title regardless of whether the warehouse issued the seller a check.

Johnson said the bill is intended to address a problem highlighted by the 2014 closure of a grain elevator in Pierce. Some farmers who had stored their grain at the elevator were disqualified from receiving assets because they had not been issued a check, he said. Using titles in place of checks to determine ownership would eliminate confusion caused by current law, Johnson said.

Senators voted 32-0 to advance the bill to select file.

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