Iowa suspends B&B Farm Store licenses to accept and store grain

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A grain and feed operation in northeast Iowa has been placed in receivership and the state has notified the company that it can no longer accept or store grain.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture said Friday it had suspended B&B Farm Store’s grain and warehouse licenses pending an administrative hearing. The action came after Waterloo-based Farmers State Bank filed a petition in Buchanan County District Court seeking to seize the Jesup business.

The bank said in the petition that B&B Farm Store, Donald L. Bloes and J&D Investors owe it $4.7 million for a series of loans that began in 2016, according to the petition.

District Judge John Sullivan appointed Habbo Fokkena, a Centerville attorney, to act as receiver for the grain and feed company. B&B Farm Store also has a retail operation.

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A B&B Farm Store employee said Friday that none of the owners were available for comment.

Fokkena said Friday that Mid-Iowa Cooperative had agreed to provide food for B&B customers, many of whom raise pigs. The company’s grain and feed operations ended last weekend, he said.

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Fokkena said B&B owes money to as many as 40 farmers, although more grain and livestock farmers may be affected.

The state said in a press release that it was suspending B&B licenses for failing “to pay grain price, grain shortage and record keeping violations.” A spokesperson for the Agriculture Department on Friday declined to comment further on the suspended licenses.

Fokkena said the Iowa Grain Indemnity Fund would cover 90% of all losses for farmers selling to the licensed dealer. The state’s website says the fund covers losses up to $300,000.

The State Grain Warehouse Office oversees the financial solvency of grain traders and grain warehouse operators, among other duties.

Donnelle Eller covers agriculture, environment and energy for the Register. Contact her at [email protected] or 515-284-8457.

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