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Hutterite Grain Co-Op Receives Religious License Exemption

South Dakota Hutterian cooperative won't have to comply with state requirement like other licensed grain buyers


The South Dakota Hutterian Co-Operative won’t have to comply with a state requirement that all other licensed grain buyers do in South Dakota, at least not for another 10 months.

According to reports, the state Public Utilities Commission agreed August 30 to let the Aberdeen-based co-op be exempt until July 1, 2023 from an administrative rule that requires applicants for Class A grain-buying licenses to provide independent reviewed or audited financial statements.

The commission’s decision opens the way for the co-op, whose only members are Hutterite religious colonies, to receive a state license.

The commission’s grain-warehouse staff recently discovered the Hutterites had been operating for decades without one. The co-op sells soybeans to AGP.

According to reports, the co-op has since applied for a license, but has asked that it not have to comply with state regulations on financial reporting for grain dealers.

Julie Dvorak, an attorney representing the co-op based in Aberdeen, SD, told a meeting of the PUC the rules requiring reports from a certified public accountant would come at a significant cost and be a detriment to the co-op’s members, not a benefit.

She said the co-op has a bookkeeper, though not a CPA, in place and also uses the Eide Bailly accounting firm for tax reporting. She added that the co-op has a bond in place and that staff from the PUC would be welcome to review the books.

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