Site preparation work is underway this summer as a St. Cloud, Minn.-based bird seed company with a facility in Miller, S.D., expands to Midland, S.D.
“The main reason we chose Midland is because there’s rail service. About 80 to 90 percent of our business we ship by rail,” area manager Lloyd Batien of Performance Seed said. “Also, this is an area that grows the product that we need.”
Performance Seed sells wild bird seed as well as lawn seed.
Batien said for its bird seed operation, the company will buy, blend, bag and ship a mix of grains it can buy in the area, including sunflower, millet, milo, corn, wheat and safflower. The company also brings in some other ingredients.
Company President Sheldon Sturgis added that moving to Midland is also the company’s way of adapting to the fact that east of the Missouri River, it’s getting more difficult to buy some niche grains.
“We’ve been in Miller for years and we’ve seen the grain move west. It’s moved west because you can’t compete with corn and beans,” Sturgis said. “You’ve seen corn and soybeans start to take over these areas driven by great agronomics, terrific new hybrids and subsidies.”
On the other hand, Sturgis said, no-till farming techniques have made it easier for farmers in the Midland area to grow crops such as milo, millet and sunflower. The company prefers to buy locally from growers when possible.
“We think there’s going to be increased acreage out there,” Sturgis said.
Batien said the plan is to hire six to eight employees initially.
“If business goes well, we can always add a night crew and hire more people,” he added.
Batien said the company hopes to have its Midland plant operating by July 2015 if not sooner.
Learn more about Performance Seed at its website, http://www.performanceseed.com/.