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Anderson Seed Company assets may be seized

By Staff | Mar 16, 2012

The North Dakota Public Service Commission is in the process of trying to get control of Anderson Seed Company’s North Dakota assets. The seed company is said to have left state farmers with more than $1.4 million in unpaid bills. Anderson Seed, Inc. is a Mentor, Minn., company with storage facilities in Redfiled, S.D., and Cass and Pierce counties in North Dakota.

The Selz (ND) Elevator, managed by James Fry, Selz, is one of the seed storage facilities where assets were owned by Anderson Seed. The other is in Durbin, N.D.

In mid-February, a Canadian-based company reportedly purchased the assets in the two North Dakota warehouses.

Although, Fry said he could not comment, he did confirm that the seed is no longer in the Selz Elevator.

Not many Selz area farmers grow sunflowers or dried beans, which are the products that Anderson Seed purchased, according to Michael Lesmeister, Selz farmer. He said he didn’t know much about the case, except what he has read in the paper.

The North Dakota Public Service office received a claim on February 15 from a Mandan man whose partnership had not received payment for seed sold to Anderson Seed, Inc. More claims began coming in. The exact amount of farmers from Selz and the total funds needed to be recovered have not been totaled yet.

“We are in the early stages of this case,” said Sue Richter, director, licensing division, PSC, Bismarck. “We have applied to become a trustee of the North Dakota assets of Anderson Seed, Inc.” No action has yet been taken (March 14) by the court on that application.

The Redfield facility and its assets were not part of the assets sale in mid-February. At a hearing of the South DakotaPublic Utilities Commissiom (PUC) on Feb. 17, the commission suspended the grain buyer license of Anderson Seed Co. Inc. for South Dakota.

The next step in the process for North Dakota – should the notice of the appointment to be named trustee come to the PSC – is that a notice to file claims would be issued in the county newspaper. After all the claims are filed, the PSC can determine how many farmers had seed stored at either Selz or Durbin and a total of the funds they will need for reimbursement. Anderson Seed, Inc. holds a $280,000 bond in North Dakota, but claims up through March 13 are thought to have exceeded that amount. The three highest amounts owed to farmers with claims in North Dakota thus far, totaled $484,388. That amount is climbing as more complaints are coming in to the commission.

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