By Lori Jo Mundstock
On Thursday, April 5, 2012 Kara Semmler and John Smith, Special Assistant Attorney Generals with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, filed paperwork with the Fifth Circuit Court in Spink County on behalf of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission in the matter of Anderson Seed Companies grain dealers bond.††The paperwork requests that the court appoint the Commission as receiver of the Anderson Seed's grain dealers bond of $100,000 and issue an order requiring Auto-Owners Insurance Company to pay them any amounts due under the bond. The Commission would than act as a referee at a later†hearing of claimants against Anderson Seed. The hearing on the matter will take place at the Spink County Courthouse on May 1, 2012 at 1 pm.
The Commission first learned of problems with the company in January when farmers began calling the Commission to complain they had not been paid for deliveries. The PUC suspended the companies operating license on February 17 and on March 15, 2012 revoked the license after Anderson Seed failed to request a hearing.† The order revoking license was modified on April 4 to limit the petition for receivership to bond proceeds only.
If the Fifth Circuit Court finds for the Commission and issues an order to pay the commission the $100,000 the next step will be for all potential claimants of Anderson Seed to file a claim. Claimants would then be required to present evidence of their claim at a hearing date later to be determined.
Anderson Seed is based in Mentor, MN.† From the time Anderson received its license last July until it suspended operations, 52 suppliers delivered 20.5 million pounds of seed to the Redfield plant, Jim Mehlhaff, director of the PUCís Grain Warehouse Division, said last month. South Dakota farmers are owed about $2.6 million. Another $1.4 million is owed to producers in North Dakota. The North Dakota Public Service Commission has gone to court to take the company's $280,000 bond in that state. The paper work on the case can be found at http://puc.sd.gov/commission/dockets/graindealer/2012/GW12-002/petition.pdf.