Business

Marengo grain elevator taken over by Iowa Ag Department

Heartland Crush was operating without license, state says

A John Deere combine works on a soybean field seen in an aerial photograph in rural Johnson County on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
A John Deere combine works on a soybean field seen in an aerial photograph in rural Johnson County on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

The Iowa Department of Agriculture has taken receivership of Heartland Crush LLC, a grain elevator and soybean crusher in Marengo, for operating without a license.

The department took over the elevator after it determined the it had started the process of getting a grain dealer license from the state, but never completed it, Iowa Department of Agriculture spokesman Dustin Vande Hoef said.

It was initially unclear how many bushels of grain Heartland Crush — which began crushing soybeans at that location in August 2017 — is holding, how many customers it had or the value of the company. Vande Hoef said the department is determining the scope of Heartland’s operations and customer base.

Vande Hoef said the department plans to liquidate the company to pay off its debts and current contracts with farmers.

The state agriculture department previously has suspended grain elevator licenses when the elevators fell out of requirements to have enough assets to cover liabilities. Taking over an elevator is a rare measure.

“In my 11 years, we’ve never had one that is a totally unlicensed facility,” he said.

Heartland Crush began operations 2017, and has capacity to crush 1.5 million bushels of soybeans per year.

Company officials could not be reached for comment Friday morning.

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John Fatino, the attorney listed for Heartland Crush, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Producers that sold grain to the company can file claims to the department until Feb. 7, 2019, by contacting the Grain Warehouse Bureau, 502 E. Ninth St., Des Moines, 50319.

• Comments: (319) 398-8366; dan.mika@thegazette.com

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