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New Bird Seed Plant Opens in SD

Thursday, November 1, 2001
filed under: Utilization/Trade: Confection-Non-oil

New Bird Seed Plant Opens in SD

About 20 miles northeast of Pierre, S.D. is a little town called Harrold, which just became home to a new birdseed packaging plant that supplies major retailers and discount stores across the nation.

Global Harvest Birdseed of South Dakota is a joint venture of Harrold Grain Company and Global Harvest Foods, a national wholesale supplier based in Kent, Wash., a suburb of Seattle. The new plant held its grand opening in May.

Why in Harrold, population 209?

“It’s very well positioned for originating ingredients, and ideal for transportation across the U.S.,” says Fred Mills, vice president of GH Foods.

The 20,000 square foot plant was built at a cost of about $1.5 million. As the plant becomes fully operational, it will ship about 20 truckloads or about 900,000 pounds of bird seed per day.

Harrold Grain Company, which sits adjacent to the plant, sources grain supply for the plant, in part through production contracts with area growers and through open market purchases. Harrold Grain Company expanded its storage capacity by 460,000 bushels in conjunction with construction of the bird seed plant. Harrold Grain Company did process bird seed before the new plant was built, but on a smaller scale, and in bulk shipments. The new plant packages and bags bird seed for various customers across the nation.

The plant now has about a dozen employees, and down the road it may employ at least a dozen more as the plant’s bagging capacity is expanded, according to Dale Gilyard manager of Harrold Grain and one of its owners, along with Chuck Jepson. Wade Jones is manager of the birdseed plant.

Locally grown milo (sorghum), red millet, white millet, cracked corn, safflower, and sunflower are handled by the plant. Niger seed (a type of thistle plant native to Ethiopia) and peanuts are purchased for blending. Seed is stored separately in 6,000 bushel bins next to the plant and mixed in different blends, depending on wild bird seed preferences. – Tracy Sayler

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