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Published May 27, 2010, 08:38 AM

Buhler equipment moving out of South Dakota plant

SALEM, S.D. — Farm equipment once again is moving out of the manufacturing plant in this southeast South Dakota town.

SALEM, S.D. — Farm equipment once again is moving out of the manufacturing plant in this southeast South Dakota town.

Canada-based Buhler Industries Inc. earlier this year bought the assets of Feterl Manufacturing Corp., which closed the plant in October 2008 and filed for bankruptcy last year.

The first three grain-handling augers built at the plant since Buhler’s purchase in February went to dealers on Wednesday.

“It’s great to be back,” said Jerry Heumiller, one of the 20 workers who once is again is toiling at the plant. “The town kind of lives and dies by this factory.”

Salem, a community of 1,300 people, has relied on the auger trade for more than a quarter century. In late 2001, the plant closed and 119 people lost their jobs. The plant’s manager organized a group of local investors to buy the business and rehired most of the employees, but the plant closed again. Buhler then bought it with the help of a low-interest loan from the South Dakota Economic Development Corp.

“Salem never gave up. They continued to work,” Gov. Mike Rounds said.

Buhler, which also has manufacturing plants in Manitoba and one in Fargo, N.D., hopes to employ at least 50 workers at the Salem plant in two years.

“We are realizing the potential that this factory offers, and the community has responded very positively since the facility reopened in February,” Buhler President Dmitry Lyubimov said.

The augers built in Salem will be available in two colors — Farm King red and the well-known Feterl white. In addition to the Farm King logo, all Salem-built augers will carry a “Feterl Original” brand.

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