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South Dakota processing plant receives forbearance on rent

PIERRE (AP) — South Dakota's only facility that processes pulse crops won't be required to pay rent for an undetermined amount of time as it faces financial challenges.

The South Dakota Pulse Processors plant, which began operating about a year ago in Harrold, has received forbearance from the Pierre Economic Development Corporation on its $14,000 monthly lease payment, the Pierre Capital Journal reported . The plant also laid off one of its seven workers.

"We have agreed to defer (their monthly lease payments) until they can kind of get their ducks in a row," said Jim Protexter, chief operating officer of PEDCO. "They are asking for some forbearance to get things figured out."

Investors supported the plant as a way to offer South Dakota farmers a local processing facility for high-protein field peas, lentils and other pulse crops. Before the plant began operations in January, local farmers had to haul such crops to processing plants in North Dakota and Nebraska.

Protexter noted the facility is new to a market with established companies.

"There's been a learning curve," he said. "They are up against some veterans (in the processing business) in North Dakota and Canada that have been around for a long time and that can probably better weather different trade and policy (issues) they have come across."

Protexter said once the plant has been in operation for a full year, it'll be in better shape.

High-protein pulse crops are often used in soups and foods popular in the Middle East. They're also heavily used in the U.S. dog food market.

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