By Tami Vigness
A lot has happened over the last hundred years. This country has seen and endured major events like The Great Depression, World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, the assassination of an American President, The Global War on Terror, political and civil turmoil, and most recently, a worldwide pandemic. And there have been incredible, almost unbelievable, advancements in science, medicine, and technology in the last century. We’ve landed on the moon, developed vaccines and other life-saving therapies, learned how to transplant organs, microwaved our food in mere seconds, and built computers, mobile phones, and the world wide web. And of course, we can’t forget about the invention of sliced bread.
Speaking of sliced bread and other notable achievements over the last 100 years, this October, our very own North Dakota Mill and Elevator Association will celebrate its 100th Anniversary. In spite of events like the Great Depression and the Great Recession, today’s increasing energy costs, and the current supply-chain issues, the Mill has successfully navigated these obstacles and remains one of North Dakota’s greatest and most profitable assets. It’s no small feat for a company to stay in business for an entire century. Yet, for 100 years, the Mill has been an institution in Grand Forks, employed thousands of people, and contributed millions of dollars in economic impact to the city and state. Milling operations are funded entirely by the sale of wheat products to food service suppliers, bakeries, and retail stores. The Mill receives no state funding or financial assistance. In fact, over the last 50 years, the North Dakota Mill and Elevator Association has contributed more than 50% of its profits to the state general fund. With 90% of sales revenue derived from out-of-state, primarily from the East Coast and the Ohio River Valley, the Mill’s economic impact on the state is invaluable. Additionally, the North Dakota Mill has served as a resource center for training, testing, and research, and has also hosted international trade teams.
Not only is the North Dakota Mill the only state-owned milling facility in the United States, it’s also the largest. “We produce 6 million pounds of flour and process 140,000 bushels of spring wheat and durum per day,” said Vance Taylor, President & CEO of the North Dakota Mill. Taylor has served as the President & CEO at the Mill since 2000, after spending the previous nineteen years with Conagra Flour Milling Co. With ten milling units, a terminal elevator, and a packing warehouse, the North Dakota State Mill grinds 40 million bushels of spring wheat and durum each year. The production of this amount of flour and semolina requires 1,200 square miles of farmland. “In the past 10 years, we have completed several projects to grow the business and increase plant efficiencies,” Taylor explained. “We plan to continue to grow the business to meet customer demand.” The Mill currently employs just over 150 people and is continuously looking at new ways to promote its brand, increase product sales, and gain new customers in both retail and food service industries that are looking for high-quality and consistent products.
Perhaps one of the reasons the North Dakota Mill has been as successful as it has been boils down to the root of its mission statement: “Provide a profit to our owners – the citizens of North Dakota.” It’s a company that sees beyond its own bottom line and focuses on supporting North Dakota’s agriculture and commerce industries. Despite the many challenges it’s faced over the last century, the ultimate goal of the Mill has been to provide a level of service, value, quality, and consistency that makes all associated with the Mill, proud.
Cheers to the next 100 years. G
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PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY ND Mill
From Issue 3, 2022