Nyssa grain broker fails, leaving area farmers and financiers owed millions

The Enterprise

NYSSA — Farmers Grain, the Nyssa-based grain broker that exported wheat and provided corn for area dairies, is bankrupt and will be liquidated.

The company, founded by Vale farmer Galen Jantz, filed for bankruptcy in April, hoping to reorganize a business that posted $31 million in revenue in 2016. In its court filing at the time, the company said it had $14 million in assets and $23.7 million in liabilities. The bankruptcy stated the company owed $8 million to Rabo AgriFinance LLC and the financier’s demand for loan payments prompted the bankruptcy petition.

Rabo subsequently sought a court order to liquidate the firm because its value continued to decline. Rabo said in its court filing that Farmers Grain couldn’t buy the necessary license from the Idaho Department of Agriculture to buy grain in Idaho.

A federal judge in U.S. District Court in Boise this week ordered the firm’s liquidation, appointing a trustee to wind down the company’s affairs.

The company recently was up for sale for $25 million, according to a website posting.

“We take in around 1.8 to 2.2 million bushels of wheat mainly for export, and buy between 3.5 to 4.4 million bushels of corn each year. The corn is used to grind and sold to dairies and feedlots across a 220 mile stretch along the beautiful snake river valley from west of Ontario Oregon to Burley Idaho,” the company said in an undated web entry.

Court filings showed that Jantz owned 40 percent of the company and Idaho farmers owned other shares. They are likely to lose all their investment.

The failure also is likely to cost Malheur County farmers. The bankruptcy filings show Farmers Grain went out of business owing them up to $400,000 for grain delivered to the Nyssa operation but never paid for. The filings also showed the grainary provided corn to nearly every large dairy in the Treasure Valley. It wasn’t immediately clear where they would now go for feed for their herds.

Rabo separately sued Jantz, his wife, and their family businesses, seeking $4.5 million in unpaid loans. The lawsuit was filed last month in U.S. District Court in Portland.