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North Dakota Mill and Elevator's employee gains shares hits all-time record

The North Dakota Mill and Elevator’s gains sharing with employees was a record 24.6% in fiscal year 2020-2021, 2.7% more than the previous record set in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

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North Dakota Mill and Elevator profits for the 2020-2021 fiscal year were $13.5 million, an increase of $2.1 million over the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
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After record-breaking shipments and employee gains sharing in fiscal year 2020-2021, the North Dakota Mill and Elevator is on track to have another successful year despite the drought, said Vance Taylor, president and CEO.

The state-owned mill and elevator shipped a record 15.8 million hundredweight of product during the fiscal year that ended June 30. The previous fiscal year, shipments were 14.3 million hundredweight. The increase in shipments was driven by strong demand from bakers and flour distributors, Taylor said.

Family flour shipments, meanwhile, were 440,000 hundredweight, slightly below the previous fiscal year’s shipments, but still strong, Taylor said.

Profits for the 2020-2021 fiscal year were $13.5 million, an increase of $2.1 million over the 2019-2020 fiscal year, he said.

The North Dakota Mill and Elevator’s gains sharing with employees was a record 24.6% in fiscal year 2020-2021, 2.7% more than the previous record set in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

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''We had a very successful year due to a strong effort from state mill employees that worked with difficult circumstances of the pandemic,” Taylor said.

He's looking forward to another profitable year, despite a reduction in North Dakota wheat production.

As of Aug. 1, North Dakota’s spring wheat crop was estimated at 173 million bushels, 37% less than last year, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service-North Dakota. The agency estimated North Dakota durum wheat production at 16 million bushels, 55% lower than last year.

Taylor said the mill will still be able to source spring wheat and durum from North Dakota farmers, and the decrease in the state's production won’t result in purchases of Canadian wheat.

In past years of short crops, the North Dakota Mill and Elevator has received permission from the North Dakota Industrial Commission to purchase Canadian wheat, which upset some of the state’s farmers. However, the purchases were never made, Taylor said.

“We’ve never bought any Canadian wheat and don’t plan to. We’re positioned well to find the wheat we need,” he said. ''I think the drought definitely affected the total bushels produced this year, but the quality we’ve received has been very good.

“We are off to a good start, similar to last year,” he said.

The North Dakota Mill and Elevator, the only state-owned facility of its kind in the United States, began operating in 1922 as a way to add value to the wheat that North Dakota farmers grew. The mill cleans, processes and mills more than 100,000 bushels of spring wheat daily and annually adds value to 34 million bushels of spring and durum.

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Last fall, the North Dakota Industrial Commission, made up of Gov. Doug Burgum, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and state Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring approved a $23.5 million North Dakota Mill and Elevator plan to buy a 6,000 hundredweight durum mill and a 4,000 hundredweight spring wheat mill so it can keep up with customer demand.

The durum and spring wheat mills will increase the mill’s grinding capacity by 6 million bushes to 40 million, and daily production will rise from 49,500 hundredweight per day to 60,500.

“One should be up and running mid-fall and the second mill should be up and running at the end of the calendar year,” Taylor said.

This year the mill also began packaging its pancake and bread mixes at the mill, instead of having that done at a plant in Fargo.

Other recently completed North Dakota Mill and Elevator projects include a rail spur and expanded storage project. During that project the mill added an 18,000-foot train track on the west side of Mill Road so it can accommodate 110-car shuttle trains, and the first shuttle train was unloaded in April. The mill also built four new grain bins with a total of 1 million bushels storage.

Related Topics: WHEATAGRICULTURE
Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: abailey@agweek.com or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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