Pulse plant steel on the ground, erection to start soon

Farm Forum

Materials for the pre-fab steel building at the planned pulse processing plant in Harrold were delivered on July 28, said Spence Etzkorn, construction manager for Heartland Construction in Fort Pierre.

“We will be excavating for footings the weekend of Aug. 10 and the building should go up shortly after that,” Etzkorn said Wednesday. “My portion will take about five months.”

His company also has done preparation work for the railroad siding that will allow the plant to load a few cars at a time of processed yellow peas and down the road, other pulse crops.

The planned South Dakota Pulse Processors plant, owned by about 86 investors – many of them farmers – is aimed to provide a nearer market for many pulse crops already grown and trucked by farmers to North Dakota plants.

The plant is projected by cost $4.5 million to build.

Kevin Hipple, Hughes County manager, said other priorities for the state railroad authority mean a loan to finance the Harrold rail siding was delayed, which held up progress on the project this summer.

Etzkorn said stormy weather in June contributed to delays, too.

Steve Brown, president and CEO of the Processors, has said he hopes to increase pulse crop acres in the region from about 20,000 to 60,000 within a few years, shipping yellow field peas and other crops to U.S. and Mexican markets.

The plant will start out employing about a dozen, increasing to 20 employees in the first years, paying good wages, Brown said.

Earlier this year, he said he planned to taken in this year’s crops for processing. It’s not clear if that’s still the goal. Attempts to reach Brown Wednesday were unsuccessful.