PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — State regulators are trying to find a way to restore the suspended license of a grain elevator in northeastern South Dakota while also protecting area producers.

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission discussed the situation of Roslyn Elevator again Thursday but continued to delay a decision.

The commission suspended the elevator’s grain-buying license on February 15 because of weak finances. The license expires June 30.

The next scheduled meeting is July 5 but the commission could call a special meeting before then.

Lawyer Charlie Nelson, representing US Bank, said on Thursday the lender is working on a forbearance agreement with the elevator’s owners that could be in place by the end of the month and could depend on the commission’s licensing decision.

“The issue of the license could be a condition precedent,” he told the commission.

Lawyer John Mullen, representing the elevator, said owners Steven Schmidt and his wife, Marcia, want the license renewed. Mullen said the elevator’s profitability has historically been better in the last half of the year because of harvest activity.

PUC grain warehouse manager Cody Chambliss agreed with Mullen’s portrayal of the elevator’s finances. Chambliss said the elevator reached $90,000 net income in the first six months of the year only once in the past five. He said 60% of farmers with outstanding contracts have been paid.

Commission chairman Chris Nelson asked what would happen if the elevator’s license isn’t renewed. Replied Chambliss, “That liquidation may not be beneficial to producers.” He said it also might send a negative signal that could deter other elevators from approaching the commission when they sense trouble. As to the value of a forbearance agreement, Chambliss said it would help producers.

“That’s my key concern right there,” chairman Nelson said. 

Owner Steve Schmidt thanked the commission. “I hope we get something figured out,” he said.

“You are welcome,” Chris Nelson replied.