ODA announces grain license suspension after audit shows issues

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REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has suspended the grain license of the Archbold Elevator Inc. located at 3265 County Road 24 in Archbold, Ohio.

Operations at a branch in Wauseon, Ohio and at additional storage bin in Elmira, Ohio have also been halted.

Archbold Elevator was contacted but had no comment on the matter.

Farmers affected

Farmers who are owed money for grain deposits with Archbold Elevator should call ODA’s Grain Warehouse Section at 800-282-1955 or at 614-728-6410.

Insolvency

Following an examination the week of April 5, ODA examiners determined that Archbold Elevator held liabilities significantly higher than their available assets and were short at least 50,000 bushels of corn.

ODA Public Information Officer, Erica Pitchford, said the problem was discovered during a routine audit, when it was obvious there was a lot of grain that was supposed to be there according to paperwork that was wasn’t.

The grain handlers’ license, #5272, was suspended on April 11.

Fund created

Ohio’s Grain Indemnity Fund was created to reimburse farmers when a licensed elevator becomes insolvent.

Pitchford said it remains unclear as to how much money is missing. She said the current investigation is trying to determine what the liabilities and assets are for the company.

2010

Archbold Elevator Inc. was reportedly audited last year and showed no problems.

Ohio farmers lost approximately $8 million due to grain elevator bankruptcies prior to the establishment of the fund in 1983.

Since the fund was established it has reimbursed farmers more than $8.5 million and is funded through a half-cent per bushel assessment on grain marketed at licensed elevators. In 2004 the indemnity cap was increased from $8 million to $10 million, and the half-cent assessment was collected from July 2004 through June 2006.

Pitchford said there is no talk of increasing the cap because of the high grain prices at this time.

The last time, the ODA suspended a grain handlers license was in September of 2010. Prior to that case, the last suspension was in 2005.

Fund assets

The grain indemnity fund currently holds $11.5 million in assets. Claims to the indemnity fund are handled through ODA’s Grain Warehouse Section and must be approved by the Ohio Commodity Advisory Commission.

The fund provides 100 percent coverage for storage grain, grain payables less than 30 days, deferred payments up to 90 days with a signed agreement, and insufficient fund checks, provided the claim is approved.

Full coverage

The fund provides 100 percent coverage for the first $10,000.00 and 80 percent of the balance for delayed price grain, basis grain, 31-365 day grain payables without deferred payment agreement, and 91-365 day deferred payments with agreement.

It provides no coverage for grain payables over 365 days. Once ODA completes their final audit of assets and liabilities, the formal indemnity claim process will begin.

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