A ceremonial ribbon-cutting was held Thursday morning to officially open United Pulse Trading of Minot. The value-added agricultural processing facility is located just east of Minot.
"With the completion of this plant, United Pulse Trading will expand the market opportunities for our farmers and help drive our continued growth in the exports by supplying more of our quality food products to consumers around the world," said Gov. Jack Dalrymple who participated in the ceremony.
The $30 million complex is expected to employ 45 people. With a processing plant in Williston and business offices in Bismarck, total employment for United Pulse in North Dakota is 100. United Pulse processes lentils, chickpeas, dry beans and other pulse crops.
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., enjoys friendly conversation at United Pulse Trading of Minot on Thursday. From the left are Les Knudson, plant manager; Erick Bartsch, general manager and Murad Al-Katib, Alliance Grain Traders president. The official ribbon-cutting for the $30 million facility was held moments later.
Alliance Grain Traders, parent company of United Pulse, currently does business in 115 countries. The company founder and president, Murad Al-Katib, grew up in Saskatchewan. After opening the $20 million Williston plant, Minot was under consideration for the company's next expansion. At the time, Sen. John Hoeven was governor of North Dakota and therefore familiar with the company.
"You were better than advertised," said Hoeven, while directing comments toward Al-Katib at Thursday's ribbon-cutting. "In 2006, 2007 I think he was about $60 million in sales. I think now that is over a billion dollars. Things like this don't just happen. You have to make it happen."
A few minutes later, Al-Katib took his turn at the microphone. In his remarks he noted that Minot's leaders were instrumental in the decision to construct a United Pulse Trading processing facility in Minot and he looks forward to continued growth in the region.
"When I think of North Dakota I think of perseverance, kind of a building block of your society," said Al-Katib. "I really think that perseverance and that commitment to us is what drove us here."
The Minot facility is expected to produce pulse flours, proteins, fibers and starches, and export them worldwide. Several of the company's products were on display Thursday, including pinto bean chips that continue to gain popularity. As one example of his "value added" approach, Al-Katib explained that pulse processing can produce protein without the fiber, a product that is in demand by baby food manufacturers.