(A) The director of agriculture may issue a handler's license, or renewal thereof, upon the payment of the prescribed application fee, if the director is satisfied that the applicant meets the standards of financial responsibility required under this section and has complied with this chapter and the rules adopted under it.
(1) Each applicant for a handler's license, or renewal thereof, shall have and maintain current assets equal to or greater than current liabilities and a total net worth equal to at least fifteen cents per bushel for the total number of bushels of agricultural commodities that the applicant handled during the immediately preceding twelve-month period to cover any indebtedness arising from the applicant's operations as a licensed handler.
(2) If an applicant is applying for a handler's license for the first time and did not handle any agricultural commodities during the immediately preceding twelve-month period, the applicant shall have an allowable total net worth of at least fifty thousand dollars to cover any indebtedness arising from the applicant's operations as a licensed handler.
(3) No person shall be licensed as a handler unless the person has an allowable total net worth of at least fifty thousand dollars.
(4) Any deficiency in required total net worth may be compensated for by an indemnity agreement executed by a person pledging personal assets for the benefit of commodity creditors should the licensed handler default in the licensed handler's obligations to the creditors; a bond issued by a corporate surety company that is authorized to do business under the laws of this state; or, at the director's discretion, an irrevocable letter of credit issued by a bank or other lending institution that is authorized by this state or the United States to issue such letters of credit and is subject to service of process in this state for any suit on the bond or letter of credit. An indemnity agreement executed by a person pledging personal assets shall be accompanied by financial statements that reflect the person's financial position as an individual and comply with the requirements of division (C) of this section. A bond shall be made to the treasurer of state to be deposited in the agricultural commodity depositors fund created under section 926.16 of the Revised Code for the benefit of any person who may be injured by the handler's failure to meet obligations arising under this chapter. A letter of credit shall be issued for the benefit of the department of agriculture and the agricultural commodity depositors fund.
(5) The director shall adopt rules in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code specifying the assets for which credit may be given in determining an applicant's total net worth.
(6) Regardless of the total number of bushels of agricultural commodities that an applicant handled during the immediately preceding twelve-month period, the applicant's total net worth need not exceed a maximum of four hundred fifty thousand dollars.
(C) In order for the director to determine if an applicant meets the standards of financial responsibility required under division (B) of this section, the applicant for a handler's license, or renewal of a handler's license, shall submit financial statements that have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and that have been audited or reviewed by an independent certified public accountant. The financial statements shall consist of all financial statements and footnotes required by generally accepted accounting principles as promulgated by the financial accounting standards board together with the independent accountant's report on the statements.
The financial statements accompanying an applicant's original application shall be for a year ending within six months before the date of application. Thereafter, the applicant applying for renewal shall submit such statements not later than ninety days after the end of the year covered by the statements.
The director may require an applicant for a handler's license, or renewal of a handler's license, to submit financial statements audited by an independent certified public accountant if the director determines that the financial statements initially submitted under this division are incomplete or otherwise unsatisfactory.
(D) The director may prepare and publish statistical abstracts of information obtained under this section without disclosing details that would identify a particular applicant with particular statistics. Such information otherwise is confidential for purposes of section 102.03 of the Revised Code, and records of the department of agriculture containing such information are not otherwise public records under section 149.43 of the Revised Code.
Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 31, SB 66, §1, eff. 10/11/2013.
Effective Date: 07-29-1998