BOWMAN, N.D. - Great Northern Ag (GNAG) has expanded into the southwestern part of North Dakota with its recent acquisition of the former Paulson Seed and Conditioning in Bowman, N.D.
The facility’s new name is Great Northern Ag Bowman.
“We’re excited about expanding into the southwestern area. There will be opportunities for growers in the region, and we’ll also add a retail store and seed cleaning component to the pulse processing plant,” said Brady Kok, who owns GNAG with his parents, Kris and Mark Kok, based in the northwestern region of the state in Plaza, N.D.
This is the second major facility for GNAG. The company also has an elevator near Velva.
GNAG hopes to continue and grow relationships with farmers in the area.
“We’re looking forward to continuing the services Paulson Seed offered and growing the facility,” Kok said.
Those services include quality grain processing of food grade pulse commodities and packaging and shipping pulses to both domestic and international markets.
The new retail store at GNAG Bowman will sell everything a seed retail business sells, including certified pulse and grain seed, seed inoculant, and seed treatment.
“We’ll be adding seed treatment and also will clean seed for local farmers,” Kok said.
The same employees that worked for Paulson Seed are continuing to work at GNAG Bowman. “All the employees are staying on”
GNAG Bowman currently has pulse processing equipment: an air screen cleaner, six drum precision grader, gravity tables, color sorters, and bagging system.
Equipment will be added and updated as time goes on.
GNAG distributes its pulse genetics through its grower associates.
“Our grower associates are a select group of farmers and seed retailers we have vetted and we trust to grow quality seed,” Kok explained.
These grower associates are located throughout the Northern Plains and the Midwest.
“We have three tiers to our seed quality. We increase our selected genetics through the university system to foundation seed. It is then increased with select seed growers to registered for distribution to the associate network. It is then increased to certified and retailed out to their customers as certified seed,” Kok said.
Expanding into Bowman will allow GNAG to be closer to more of its grower associates, such as in South Dakota and Nebraska, and to expand its grower associates.
Most of GNAG seed is pulses: peas, lentils, chickpeas and fava beans. Its latest licensed pea variety is Shamrock peas, which GNAG worked with the former Paulson Seed on contracting acreage for.
Kok said they would be offering new crop contracts for farmers for next spring, which may have Act-of-God clauses, depending on the markets.
Pulses are grown on a large amount of acreage in Montana and North Dakota and are expanding acreage in South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska.
With the improved genetics that GNAG has developed, GNAG has expanded its grower associates into more non-traditional areas, like Nebraska.
GNAG hired a new marketer, Shannah Plehal, last year to lead the Great Northern Ag genetics program as well as explore domestic markets for commercial sales. Plehal and GNAG staff currently develop markets both in the U.S. and across the world.
Finding the right genetics is vital for GNAG, and to do that, they work with pulse breeders on specialty pulse varieties spending significant time matching genetics to agronomics in a region - while also making sure the variety fits the end-users' needs. GNAG secures the pulse seed genetics for producers that end-users desire and has the varieties tested in many university and private industry trials.
Brady Kok said GNAG spends significant time on marketing.
“GNAG spends a lot of time and energy checking the current markets and finding markets for our pulse exports, and the same will hold true for GNAG Bowman,” Kok said.
Once GNAG finds the market, then it locates which grower associates can produce the seed for that market.
“We buy on sample and check the quality of the product, before shipping it out to domestic or export markets,” he added.
The new plant is already operating, and the staff looks forward to servicing both current and new customer/farmers.