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332534

State of Iowa suspends licenses of financially troubled Jesup grain dealer

by Jared Strong

State regulators ordered a northeast Iowa grain dealer to stop buying large amounts of grain after it failed to pay for an unspecified amount of grain, among other violations of its licenses.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced Friday it suspended the grain dealer and warehouse licenses of B&B Farm Store in Jesup, just east of Waterloo.

“The suspension is based upon the company’s failure to pay for priced grain, grain shortage and record keeping violations,” IDALS said.

Don McDowell, a spokesman for the department, declined to elaborate on those allegations because IDALS has requested an administrative law hearing about the matter. Such hearings can result in financial penalties for grain dealers.

Generally, dealers that buy at least 1,000 bushels of grain per month are licensed and regulated by the state to help protect grain producers from losses. Dealers are required to have sufficient assets to cover their debts for grain purchases, and those that don’t can have their licenses suspended.

District court records show that Farmers State Bank filed last week for foreclosure against B&B and an associated company, J&D Investors, seeking more than $4.6 million in unpaid debts. The businesses avoided foreclosure early this year through mediation but have since failed to make payments that were stipulated by that mediated agreement, according to the bank’s recent foreclosure petition. Court records did not indicate any other pending litigation against B&B.

The state maintains an indemnity fund that covers up to $300,000 worth of losses incurred by individual producers who sell grain to state-licensed dealers but aren’t paid.

B&B Farm Store declined to comment for this article. It’s unclear when the administrative law hearing will be held.

The business sells outdoor equipment and supplies, and it also operates a feed mill, according to air quality permit data of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The company’s website says it sells feed for cattle, dogs, goats, horses, pigs and poultry. Satellite images of the site depict several large grain bins.

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of the States Newsroom, a network of similar news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity.

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