Texas Department of Agricultural officials are poring over books and examining warehouses to try to determine the whereabouts of “a significant amount” of grain reported missing from the Dorchester Grain Company, near Sherman, Texas.

The apparent shortage was discovered during a routine inspection November 4, says TDA spokesman Bryan Black. The investigation was announced Thursday.

“Determining how much grain is missing is part of an ongoing investigation,” Black said. As many as 140 farmers in Grayson, Hunt and Collin Counties had grain—corn, wheat or milo—stored at the facility. Losses could amount to millions of dollars.

“Job number one for us is to safeguard Texas farmers and ranchers,” Black said. “We have inspectors on site going over the books. We’re working as fast as we can to resolve the issue.”

Black said TDA can not speculate on how long the investigation will take or how much grain may be missing from the facility.

He said the facility’s license has been suspended and is under quarantine. “Nothing goes in or out until a full audit is completed.”

Black said the grain company is bonded and part of the investigation will be to evaluate how much insurance will be available if the grain is not found. The company also may declare bankruptcy and assets would be used to repay farmers. Black would not speculate on how much per dollar invested farmers would receive from a bankruptcy proceeding.

“It’s too early to speculate on that,” he said.

If wrong doing is determined the matter will be turned over to the county prosecutor.

Black asked that any farmer who had grain stored at Dorchester Grain Company call TDA at (214)631-0265 and ask for either E.W. Wesley or Gray Stewart. “Please call if you have questions,” he said.

email: rsmith@farmpress.com