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State mill makes record profits, pays big bonuses

After reporting record profits, the North Dakota Mill in Grand Forks is also reporting big profit-sharing payouts to its workers. The average worker earned an $11,600 bonus, about 21.9 percent of his or her annual wages, according to General Mana...

After reporting record profits, the North Dakota Mill in Grand Forks is also reporting big profit-sharing payouts to its workers.

The average worker earned an $11,600 bonus, about 21.9 percent of his or her annual wages, according to General Manager Vance Taylor. In the past decade, the average bonus accounted for about 9 percent of annual wages.

Profit sharing is part of the compensation package at the mill, he said, and it creates a strong incentive for mill employees to work together as a team.

In fiscal year 2011, which ended June 30, the state-owned mill earned a profit of $16.1 million, that's 22 percent higher than the record set in fiscal year 2010 and 705 percent more than the mill's goal of a $2 million profit.

Workers at the state mill can get bonuses if they reach several other goals, such as productivity and safety records, but the profit sharing kicks in only after the $2 million goal is reached, Taylor said.

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Of the total profits, $7.6 million went to the state's general fund, $804,000 to the agriculture fuel tax fund, $1.4 million to workers' bonuses and the rest goes back to the mill for operations.

This past year has seen extraordinary profits, Taylor said, because of high demand for flour as the U.S. population grows. Many mills have done very well, he said, and the state mill has benefitted because of the high-protein content in its wheat and the consistency of the flour it mills.

Flour from high-protein wheat is typically used for bread and pasta.

The mill reported an increase in total shipments of 5.6 percent in fiscal year 2011.

Reach Tran at (701) 780-1248; (800) 477-6572, ext. 248; or send email to ttran@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE
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