PIERRE, S.D. — The only plant in South Dakota that processes pulse crops such as field peas and lentils has stopped buying from farmers as it deals with financial woes.
The South Dakota Pulse Processors plant in Harrold faced a setback last year when more than 200 electric motors running the processing equipment had to be replaced to meet the state’s electrical codes.
The plant has sought relief from creditors who delayed loan payments earlier this year. But recent price decreases pressured by India closing off its market for peas, chickpeas and other pulse crops has dealt another blow.
India is one of the United States and Canada’s biggest customers for pulse crops.
President Tom Young told the Capital Journal that India’s increased tariffs on foreign peas and chickpeas were a problem his plant didn’t need.
Young said the plant’s employees are still working, maintaining and improving the plant that opened in January 2017.
But he said the market slump has made it difficult for the plant to profitably buy peas from farmers, process them and ship them.
“We just aren’t buying product right now,” Young said.
The field pea market prices dropped to $5 to $5.50 a bushel for farmers in central South Dakota in recent months. Young said it has made it even more difficult to find profitable deals. When prices are low, farmers usually try to hold onto their crops until prices rise.
The plant is searching for more funds, but Young remains optimistic about its future.
“We have had several conversations with different companies about different options that we are exploring at this time,” said Young.
“We definitely don’t have the answer at this time, but it’s sure nice to see the options we do have,” he said.
Information from: Pierre Capital Journal, http://www.capjournal.com