– A lien for the owner or operator of any threshing machine or combine against the grain or seed harvested or processed. Neb. Rev. Stat. Sec. 52-501.
A combine with a plugged feeder house is extremely frustrating and basically useless until the plug is removed. Similarly, liens that are plugged with filing or notice problems are frustrating and potentially unenforceable. Even a straightforward thresher’s lien can contain issues which plug up the lien and render it useless.
For starters, the lien must contain (1) the name, address and social security or tax identification number of the owner or operator who performed the work; (2) the name, address and social security or tax identification number, if known, of the person for whom the harvesting was performed; (3) the amount due for the harvesting: (4) the amount of grain, seed or corn harvested; (5) the place where the grain, seed or corn is located; and (6) the date upon which the grain, seed or corn was harvested. In addition, the lien statement must be filed within 30 days after harvesting with a copy sent to the customer.
The customer can sell or transfer the grain, seed or corn after harvest even if a lien is filed. However, the customer must notify the purchaser or consignee that the harvester has not been paid. The lien will shift to the purchaser or consignee once notice is provided. The harvester is responsible for notifying the purchaser or consignee in writing if the harvester knows the grain, seed or corn is being transferred or sold within 30 days of harvest. The lien will not pass to the purchaser or consignee if the harvester fails to notify the purchaser or consignee of the lien.
In addition, a thresher’s lien will not apply to a landlord’s or lessor’s share of the harvested grain, seed or corn. Simply put, an operator may only lien against the percentage of the grain, seed or corn owned by the customer.
Finally, the statute specifically relates to grain, seed or corn. Therefore, a thresher’s lien may not effectively secure payment for the harvesting of alfalfa or grass.
An operator has to ensure that his/her thresher equipment is kept clean and clear of materials that can clog the machine. Similarly, the harvester needs to ensure a thresher’s lien is clean and clear of any issues. It is imperative the lien clearly identifies the proper information, includes the right notices and is filed appropriately, and the harvester knows who owns the grain, where it is located, and who has possession.