USA – Pardue Grain, which offers market cleaning services and transportation logistics, has started construction on a new US$6.5 million pulse crop processing facility in Great Falls, Montana.
According to The Great Falls Montana Development Authority, the company’s new 32,000 square-foot building will create a dozen jobs and expand its pulse processing operation including sorting, sizing, cleaning and bagging capabilities.
Pardue’s existing storage and transloading facility is located in Cut Bank, Montana.
It has 420,000 bushels of flat storage, 27,000 bushels of hopper storage, and 310,000 bushels of steel bin storage along the BNSF Railroad mainline, giving the operation access to a 10-car railroad spur for efficient delivery to customers around the country.
The expansion is expected to open in August 2018.
“We are thrilled to break ground on this new facility and increase Montana producers’ access to foreign and domestic markets for value-added and Montana-branded products,” said Lisa Sammons, who co-owns Pardue Grain with her husband Roger Sammons.
“The low operating costs and easy access to highways and rail lines make the Great Falls region an ideal place to expand pulse crop processing operations.
We look forward to increasing our services for buyers and producers in the area.”
The project is located along the BNSF rail line on the Montana Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
According to Area Development, this expansion is being funded in part through a US$5 million loan from the First Interstate Bank, partially guaranteed by the USDA Rural Development Program.
“We are excited to have Pardue Grain expand in the Great Falls, Montana region. The investment continues to prove our area’s strengths for pulse processing operations that serve customers around the country,” said Brett Doney, President of the GFDA.
“It’s wonderful that following the project’s completion, the new facility will offer full processing services to area pulse producers.”
Pardue Grain’s decision to pursue the project was sparked by one of eight food and agricultural processing business cases developed by the GFDA with industry consultants and Montana agricultural organizations.
It added that the GFDA also worked with the USDA to provide a US$350,000 IRP loan to help jumpstart the project and gave coaching to help Pardue Grain develop an in-depth business plan to make its new operation in the area successful.
The Great Falls Montana Development Authority noted Montana has become the largest producer of pulse crops like lentils, peas and chickpeas in the U.S., and the acreage of pulse crops harvested in Montana has tripled since 2010.
The Montana Department of Agriculture reports that pulse crops harvested in the state climbed from 600,209 in 2013 to 1.5 million in 2017.
“Pulse crop processing is quickly becoming one of the largest agricultural sectors in the state of Montana,” said U.S. Senator Jon Tester of Montana.
“This expansion will bring new jobs to rural Montana, boost the local economy, and strengthen our state’s number one industry.”
The Great Falls region has seen a string of agricultural investment recently from both local and international food processing companies.
Montana Specialty Mills is also creating a new US$20 million processing center, and Pasta Montana has invested US$6.5 million for a line expansion.