NDTO News Article

JM Grain Uses STEP ND Program to Increase Sales into South America

JM Grain, a processor and exporter of dried peas, lentils and chickpeas headquartered in Garrison, ND, is just one example of a North Dakota company that has used STEP ND funds to increase international sales.  Most recently, JM Grain used the program to offset costs for the Colombia and Brazil Trade Mission, which resulted in an immediate contract in Colombia for green peas, yellow peas and lentils.

“The first shipment of product to our new customers in Colombia – for about $175,000 – is already on the track,” said Beverly Flaten of JM Grain.  “The STEP program certainly helped that happen.”

STEP ND is a financial reimbursement program designed to assist small, North Dakota businesses – such as JM Grain – in growing their international exports.  Funds can be used to defray costs for trade missions, trade shows and international marketing materials and export education/certification programs.

“JM Grain’s story is a great example of the success that is coming out of the STEP ND program,” said Sharon May, NDTO Director of Market Research and Export Education.  “We hope to continue to hear stories like this and see more companies take advantage of these funds before the program ends on September 30.”

JM Grain’s Growth Goes High Tech

To manage the increase in international and domestic demand, JM Grain has installed a state-of-the-art network computer system which will allow the company to write contracts with international buyers and source product from regional farmers – from Max, ND to the Golden Triangle in Montana – with the click of a button.  The feature will give buyers accurate, up-to-date market prices and commodity stock availability in real time.

“Our family farm is growing quickly; we’ve adopted this new technology to remain as globally competitive as possible,” said Marvin Flaten, CFO of JM Grain, Inc.  “Simultaneous virtual interaction is now being conducted throughout the day, linking the JM Grain staff from Garrison and Great Falls, Montana, to anywhere in the world, and we’re already noticing increased productivity.”

Flaten is currently attending the International Pulse Trade and Industries Confederation (CICILS/IPTIC) conference in Singapore, where he hopes to use the software to sign contracts with Singapore buyers and source product from North Dakota and Montana farmers.  The new technology system will help JM Grain continue to bring the world to the farmer through various trade missions and international efforts, staying current with global trends and developments.

As the domestic market increases, further plans include expansion of processing capabilities in eastern Montana for peas and lentils. Currently, JM Grain sends pulse crops such as chick peas to buyers throughout the United States and has diversified their product range by selling to domestic pet food ingredient companies.

JM Grain also recently installed new equipment to control production by product such as pea hulls and dust. The company will update the wooden grain elevator by installing multiple steal hopper bins within the next year.  Additional track, on the rail road JM Grain utilizes to move product, will be put in place in order to maintain output, encouraging a more-efficient operation without interruption from the presence of other rail cars unrelated to the company.

JM Grain, Inc. was awarded the 2011 North Dakota Exporter of the Year Award by Gov. Jack Dalrymple and the North Dakota Trade Office.  This North Dakota/Montana Company is a world leading commodity exporting firm providing a vast marketplace for local farmers while contributing to the feeding of the world. Visit www.jmgrain.com for more information.