PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — One company cooperated after being caught without a South Dakota grain-buying license. But another hasn’t. And now they’re about to face potentially very different consequences.
The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission disclosed Thursday two new complaints against businesses from outside the state that bought grain illegally in South Dakota.
The more serious set of allegations is against Crossroads Cooperative, a grain buyer based in Sidney, Nebraska.
The PUC’s grain-warehouse division claims that Crossroads bought 700 loads of grain in South Dakota without a South Dakota license between July 2020 and March 8, 2022.
Commission staff attorneys are recommending a maximum $20,000 fine against Crossroads. Had the $1,000 maximum fine been allowed per transaction, the company could have been exposed for $700,000 in penalties.
The staff attorneys also want the case turned over to county or state criminal prosecutors because Crossroads conducted so many transactions without a surety bond and refused to cooperate.
State grain regulators had a better experience with Atlantic Grain and Trade, which has offices in Chaska, Minnesota, and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
Atlantic had purchased 69 train cars of grain in South Dakota without a South Dakota license when the company came to state regulators’ attention. After contacted by the state, the company stopped purchases and obtained a South Dakota license.
Atlantic and the commission’s staff have agreed on a $10,000 civil penalty. The two-page document includes this statement: “The grounds for the settlement take into account:
a. The large number of loads purchased by Respondent without a license;
b. Respondent’s cooperation in ultimately obtaining a license.”