Viterra buys U.S. pea, lentil processor

Just in time for flooding that’s led to evacuation notices for what’s reported as up to a quarter of the city’s population, Viterra has bought a pulse-crop processing business at Minot, N.D.

Regina-based Viterra, Canada’s largest grain handler, said Monday it had bought the assets and inventory of Premier Pulses International for an undisclosed sum.

Premier Pulses’ assets include its pulse crop cleaning, processing and storage facilities at Minot, plus a marketing office at Lewiston, Idaho, about 170 km south of Spokane.

At the Minot plant, on the east side of the city and north of the overflowing Souris River, the company handles cleaning, processing, bagging and warehousing of peas and lentils bound for customers worldwide.

The Minot plant “is located in the primary pea and lentil growing regions in the northern U.S.,” Bob Miller, Viterra’s senior vice-president for grains in North America, said in a release Monday. “Expanding our operation into Minot presents an exciting opportunity which aligns with Viterra’s pulse merchandising growth strategy.”

Specifically, he said, “strong global demand fundamentals in the Middle East and Asia continue to drive increased pulse acreage.”

Viterra signed its deal with Premier Pulses on June 15 and closed the deal Monday afternoon, the company said.

The Canadian Press and Associated Press on Tuesday said the Souris is expected to overtop Minot’s levees, beat the community’s previous record flood level from 1969 and flood “thousands” of properties.

An estimated 10,000 Minot residents have already been ordered to evacuate, the news agencies reported.

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