FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A group of Huntington County farmers claimed the Indiana Grain Buyers and Warehouse Licensing Agency broke state law by allowing Salamonie Mills (SMI) to remain open when the agency knew the grain elevator was millions of dollars in debt.

As WANE 15 first reported, Salamonie Mills closed in 2020, leaving dozens of farmers without payment and without their grain.

The farmers claimed they were financially harmed by the “Agency’s decision to withhold information about SMI’s poor financial health and yet to relicense SMI year after year, inducing the Farmers to store grain at SMI.”

The lawsuit was moved from Huntington County Circuit Court to federal court on Monday.

The farmers cited state law which requires grain elevators to maintain an asset to liability ratio of 1:1 and have a positive net worth.

They allege the agency knew Salamonie Mills had a negative net worth as early as 2015. They claim the grain elevator’s finances became worse every year, which could be seen clearly when Salamonie Mills filed to renew its license.

The group asked the court for damages for their lost grain and the expenses from the agency’s actions.

The farmers group consists of Kratzer Farms, Inc., Gary Kratzer, Pinkerton Farms Inc., Daniel Pinkerton, Phil Pasko Farms Inc., Caley Bros. Farms, Inc., Caley Farms Inc., DK Farms Inc., Darrell Blair, and Seldom Rest Farms of Huntington, Inc.