PIERRE, SOUTH DAKOTA, US — OPINS Co-op (Organic Producers of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota) will surrender its South Dakota grain dealer’s license and pay a fine of $5,000 for operating without a license from July 1, 2019, to Nov. 8, 2021, after reaching a settlement with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.

Under South Dakota law, a grain buyer without a license can incur a fine of $1,000 for each purchase of grain, with a maximum fine of $20,000. In its motion to approve the negotiated settlement filed on Dec. 5, commission staff alleged that 33 loads of grain had been purchased by OPINS without a valid license.

OPINS, based in North Bend, Nebraska, US, said all grain sellers were paid and the cooperative maintained a positive net worth in accordance with South Dakota law. As part of the settlement, OPINS will not be able to purchase grain in fiscal year 2023 and will be eligible to apply for a fiscal year 2024 license on June 1, 2023.

The settlement was approved by the commission during its regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 6.