A farm cooperative at Stuart in central Iowa recently turned its grain dealer license in to the state of Iowa. Another grain dealer -- at Ossian in northeast Iowa -- recently had its license suspended by state officials.
Heartland Organic Marketing Cooperative at Stuart, west of Des Moines, turned in its license after its board of directors decided to close the co-op and go out of business. That's according to Robert Turnbull, Heartland's former marketing manager. The co-op's bank notified the business in late October that it would stop honoring the co-op's checks.
The 10-year-old co-op could not pay all the farmers it owed for organic soybeans nor could it pay some of its employees.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture got involved and suspended the co-op's license. Donna Gwinn, director of the agriculture department's grain warehouse bureau, says 12 farmers are owed a total of $54,000 by Heartland.
Those farmers can file a claim for 90% of their losses. The claim is paid by the Iowa Grain Indemnity Fund.
Ossian elevator hearing set for Jan. 21
Meanwhile, the grain dealer license of Ossian Agri Center Inc. ,at Ossian, Iowa, has also been suspended. Gwinn says the Ossian elevator failed to have a net worth of at least $75,000 and did not meet other financial requirements. A hearing to be held by the ag department's grain warehouse bureau is scheduled for Jan. 21 in the Ossian case.
Owner of the Ossian facility, Dan Ohloff, says the business still holds it's grain warehouse license, but not a grain dealer's license. Also, Ossian Agri Center continues to sell fertilizer, farm chemicals and seed. "We haven't yet decided what to do," he says. "We're thinking about seeking a buyer for our business."
If you have questions, Gwinn says you should contact the Iowa Department of Agriculture's grain bureau at (515) 281-3056.