MINOT (AP) - A grain company owned by a man with businesses throughout the world is setting up a business here to buy and export legumes.
The $5 million MG Grain LLC facility will create at least 20 jobs and possibly as many as 60, Minot Area Development Corp. President Jerry Chavez said Thursday. It also will aid dry pea and lentil farmers, said Eric Bartsch, executive director of the Northern Pulse Growers Association, a group that represents growers in North Dakota and Montana. Pulse crops are those with pods and seeds.
"It's going to create another market opportunity for producers," Bartsch said. "We have room in the state for more processing. The acres are expanding every year."
North Dakota produces almost three-fourths of the nation's dry pea crop. Production has expanded from 1.1 million hundredweight in 1999 to 9.3 million hundredweight last year, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. The Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba also are major producers.
MG Grain is expected to ship about 3 million hundredweight of commodities each year, the development corporation said.
The company is the second large pulse crop business to unveil plans in North Dakota in the past year. Last August, officials announced that the United Pulse Trading company would be an anchor tenant of Bismarck's Northern Plains Commerce Centre shipping facility.
"As industry expands, you're going to see acreage expand with it," Bartsch said.
MG Grain in Minot will buy commodities such as dry peas and export them to international markets, said owner Milad Ghattas, who owns businesses in Egypt, Canada and Europe.
"In meeting with growers from the region we knew Minot was the right place to build our business," Ghattas said in a statement.
The plant will use Minot's developing Intermodal Park, Chavez said. Intermodal shipping involves standardized containers that can be carried on trains, trucks and ships.
An incentive package for the company has not yet been worked out, Chavez said. "By and large … they have the financing in place themselves. If we do any incentives, it will be in terms of infrastructure," he said.
MG Grains will be built on 40 acres within Minot's Agricultural Park. Chavez said it will become the headquarters for Ghattas, who currently is based in Virginia.