Thirteen Quality Farm and Ranch stores in Nebraska could be sold to a Missouri group if a Michigan bankruptcy court accepts its bid.

The Orscheln Group of Moberly, Mo., hopes to complete the purchase during the first week in January.

The company operates 88 farm and ranch stores in the south central United States that are similar to the Quality Farm and Ranch stores, chief operating office Steven Chick said.

The company has bid for stores in North Platte, Lexington, Gothenburg, Broken Bow, McCook, Kearney, Ord, Hastings, York, Seward, Beatrice, Crete and Lincoln. Stores in three cities and Kansas and one city in Iowa are included in the offer.

Orscheln hopes to reopen the stores in March if its bid is successful, and would consider buying more of the 47 stores in Nebraska, Chick said.

Chick worked for Country General until the stores were sold to Quality Stores in 1999.

Quality Stores announced in October that it would close 133 of its stores west of the Mississippi River. That included stores across Nebraska and a Grand Island distribution center.

The Orscheln Group includes privately owned companies with diversified interests in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia.

Grand Island businessman Tom Seitz also has expressed an interest in buying more of the Nebraska stores.