Two grain storage facilities in Illinois have shut down in less than three months, and a state insurance fund has seen its first claims in years.
Illinois Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Rebecca Clark said the Illinois Grain Insurance Fund, a state insurance fund created to protect farmers who store grain at failed facilities, had its first claims since April 2012, The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reported. The claims stem from the state's revocation last week of the operating license of Keller Grain Co., which operates in Anna and Jonesboro in southern Illinois.
The other license revocation was in November for SGI Agri-Marketing LLC in the central Illinois town of Gibson City. The agriculture department seized grain stored at the elevators for later sale.
Clark said the failures are why the state created the insurance fund, "to protect farmers against losses associated with failed grain dealers and warehouses."
She added that officials don't believe there's a connection to low commodity prices. They think the issues were isolated to the two companies.
"It's a couple of anomalies," said Jeff Adkisson, executive vice president of the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois. "There were several different circumstances in both cases."
Funding for the insurance program is issued through assessment on grain dealers, warehouse operations, grain sellers and lenders.
As of November, there was a balance of $7.7 million in the Grain Insurance Fund.