“You operate in many countries around the world and you could do this expansion in many other places, but you chose to do it here (in Minot, ND) and we can never take that for granted,” stated Senator John Hoeven, who attended the recent event at AGT Foods to celebrate their $30 million expansion in Minot.
AGT Food and Ingredients (AGT) is one of the world's largest suppliers of value-added pulses, staple foods, and food ingredients. AGT purchases pulse crops from local farmers, turns them into flour, proteins, starches, and fibers, which are used as food ingredients for snacks, pastas, pet food, and other ingredients across the globe.
On Friday, August 5th, Founder and President/CEO of AGT Foods, Murad Al-Katib, was surrounded by the Minot community and City, State, and Federal leaders to celebrate AGT’s 33,000 sq. ft. addition. This expansion allows AGT to double their capacity to accommodate the growing demands of pulse crops. AGT will add approximately 20 employees and this expansion also welcomes new technology, which will develop more opportunities for pulse crops.
“With low commodity prices it’s tough, but this type of expansion, this type of value-added, makes a big difference because it’s another market for our farmers,” explained Senator John Hoeven who discussed the importance AGT’s impact for ND farmers. Mr. Al-Katib shared his vision and dream behind AGT Foods; to take what he considers an agriculture transformation and build value-added opportunities for farmers. He explained how he views harvest as a sense of optimism, sense of renewal, and a sense of looking forward to the future. “North Dakota has been a big driver in the U.S. We are proud to be a part of that agriculture transformation and revolution that we are seeing in food in the world,” said Mr. Al-Katib.
AGT ships its products to over 120 countries around the world and represents nearly 45% of the global market for pulse exporting. Mr. Al-Katib explained that how the world needs to produce, in the next 50 years, as much food as we have in the last 10,000 years; with that being said, there are many opportunities for North Dakota and the Minot area to become one of the main stops on the global protein highway.
Over 100 people gathered to celebrate AGT’s expansion and to show appreciation for the significant role this business has to North Dakota. The event, hosted by Verendrye Electric and the Minot Area Development Corporation, featured AGT’s products in the catered lunch. Some of these items included scotcheroos, pasta salad, and Sun Chips new line of Veggie Harvest chips. The scotcheroos were made out of Faba bean crisps instead of Rice Krispies, the Faba bean crisps AGT produces are 8 grams of protein compared to a Rice Krispies at 0.5% protein. The catered lunch also had a pasta salad, with the pasta 50% made from a legume flour blend mixed with durum wheat from North Dakota.
As the event concluded, Mr. Al-Katib closed with an exciting announcement, “What we’ve done so far, we are just getting started… We are announcing today that we are adding a 4th processing line to Minot.” The processing line and a new fiber granulation and sterilization line are expected to be completed by January 2017.