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Hearing set today on oral credit sales between farmers, elevators

PIERRE -- The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission is proposing new rules for oral credit sales between farmers and elevators. Under the proposal, the contract must be mailed to the farmer, who then has 48 hours to object in writing, or the contract goes into effect.

A hearing on the rule is set for today in Pierre. If approved, the rule could take effect in early September, allowing elevators and other grain buyers in the fall harvest to continue taking delayed-pricing and deferred payment contracts as they have in the past. Elevator operators say they need that flexibility.

The rule would change an April 15 PUC rule that does the opposite -- requiring elevators that orally enter credit-sale contracts with farmers to mail the contracts to farmers, who then have 30 days to sign them, or they'll become cash sale contracts, paid on the spot.

The 30-day-and-out policy was forced by an April 4 ruling by Judge Tony Portra of Spink County in Redfield. Portra agreed with Ray Martinmaas, of Orient, that he was eligible for his $2,000 share of a bond in the Anderson Seed insolvency. Anderson Seed, based in Mentor, Minn., went insolvent in February 2012, leaving $5 million in claims for unpaid sunflowers.

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