Nebraska Grain and Feed Association
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NGF, NCC APPEAR IN OPPOSITION TO ELIMINATION OF MINIMUM STORAGE CHARGE

PSC DECISION EXPECTED IN THREE WEEKS

The Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) met on May 19, 2010 to consider whether to increase the maximum handling and grain storage rates state licensed elevators can charge depositors and eliminate the long held regulation which allows state licensed grain warehouses to implement a minimum storage charge.  While the Nebraska Grain and Feed Association (NGF) testified in support of a slight increase in the maximum storage rates for corn and soybeans, NGF and the Nebraska Cooperative Council (NCC) joined together in strongly opposing any attempt by the Commission to eliminate the 180 day minimum storage provision. 

NGF proposed an upward adjustment to the Schedule “A” grain storage charge for storing corn and other grain by one cent, to 5 cents per month, and soybeans rates by 1.5 cents, to 7 cents per month.  The Association did not recommend any change to the current .33 cent handling charge.

NGF and NCC were particularly concerned with the possible elimination of the 180 day minimum storage charge, Rule 4.  On Wednesday, May 6, Grain Department Director John Fecht informed representatives of NGF and the NCC that he would testify before the PSC and recommend elimination of the minimum storage charge. 

The Association testified in opposition to the elimination of the minimum grain storage charge due to the rising costs associated with new and existing state and federal government regulatory compliance, insurance, labor, repairs and other expenses.  NGF noted that most surrounding states including federal regulators do not govern any minimum storage provision including the number of days that depositors can be charged for storage.  The Association noted that the difficult economy has had a negative impact on many grain and feed firms and the minimum storage charge has helped some of those firms to defray the increased costs of doing business.  Both organizations noted that the provision has been in place for well over 30 years and were unaware of any excessive minimum handling charge or had received complaints from producers.  Commission staff also indicated that they had received no previous complaints.  The NCC was represented by President Robert Andersen and NGF by Executive VP Pat Ptacek. 

Other organizations testifying at the hearing included the Nebraska Farm Bureau and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.  While the Farm Bureau opposed increasing storage rates, they did support the elimination of the minimum storage charge based on member feedback and the results of a recent Bureau survey.  The Corn Growers also opposed increasing the storage charge but remained neutral over the elimination of the 180 day minimum storage charge.

The Commission indicated that a decision on increasing storage rates and eliminating the minimum storage charge would be made between three and four weeks.  In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please call NGF at 402-476-6174.    

 

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Nebraska Grain and Feed Association
4600 Valley Road, Suite 416
Lincoln, NE 68510-4844
Phone: 402-476-6174
Fax: 402-476-3401