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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, June 27, 2012
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, deputy executive director, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327

PUC proposes recommendations for grain buyer legislation

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission today announced a plan that the agency will pursue during the 2013 legislative session to update grain buyer statutes. The proposal would, through state law, give the PUC additional tools to detect deteriorating financial conditions among grain buyers the agency currently licenses and inspects.

The plan calls for requiring additional financial statements as part of a grain buyer's licensing application, adding perjury language to the application, revising the structure of the bond amounts, requiring notification by the grain buyer if the buyer becomes out of compliance with licensing requirements, and requiring the production of financial records at the buyer's license location.

PUC Chairman Chris Nelson described the proposal as an effort that gives appropriate consideration to all interests. "Regulation of any type has to be a balance," he stated. "With this proposal, we balance the protection of the consumer-- the grain producer--in a way that doesn't stifle or cause unnecessary cost to the business of the grain buyer," he explained.

"The proposed legislative changes will strengthen the PUC's ability to identify grain buyers' financial problems and help ward off producer losses," said PUC Vice Chairman Kristie Fiegen. "This proposal increases financial transparency in current statue in order to spot risks at an earlier stage," she said.

The PUC has sought input from representatives of agricultural organizations, grain buyers and grain producers in drafting the proposal. Commissioner Gary Hanson said the agency will continue to develop the concept before introducing legislation during the 2013 session in Pierre.

"As with all legislation, this proposal will undergo scrutiny and modification before it is presented in bill form," PUC Commissioner Gary Hanson said. "I think I speak for my colleagues as well as myself when I say we are looking forward to shaping this concept with the ag industry and legislative community," he said.