The largest flour mill in the United States is once again expanding.
North Dakota Mill, the only state-owned mill in the United States, announced this week that it plans to expand milling capacity to 60,500 cwts by adding a 6,000-cwt durum unit and a 4,000-cwt spring wheat unit. They will be the plant’s ninth and tenth milling units.
The Industrial Commission of North Dakota on Oct. 22 approved the $23.5 million expansion. The project will begin soon and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2021, Vance Taylor, president and chief executive officer of North Dakota Mill, tells our sister publication World Grain.
Taylor says the new milling units are necessary “to keep up with demand from existing customers.”
He notes that an existing durum mill will be retooled to process spring wheat and will see its daily milling capacity increase from 3,000 to 4,000 cwts.
Earlier this year, North Dakota Mill announced plans to upgrade its scales in its truck unloading facilities to speed up the process. On March 9, the North Dakota Industrial Commission approved spending $8.3 million on the upgrade. With the upgrade, waiting times on average will be reduced by 35% per day.
In August 2019, work was completed on an 18,000-foot train track that can accommodate 110-car shuttle trains. North Dakota
“That helps us to source wheat from western parts of North Dakota,” Taylor says.
Four new grain bins also were added with a total of 1 million bushels of storage capacity.
Because the equipment in the new milling units will be highly automated, Taylor says he doesn’t anticipate staffing changes.
In addition to the nearly 50,000 cwts of flour it currently produces daily, the mill ships over 14,000 cwts of food grade bran and wheat midds per day. North Dakota mill cleans, processes and mills more than 100,000 bushels of North Dakota wheat daily.
Most of the mill’s flour and semolina is shipped on bulk rail cars and trucks, while 20% of finished products are packaged in 5-, 10-, 25-, 50- and 100-pound bags for shipment via boxcars and trucks.
North Dakota Mill’s most recent expansion was in 2016 when it completed the G mill, the facility’s eighth milling unit, which has a daily capacity of 11,500 cwts and is one of the largest single milling units ever built in the United States.
According to Sosland Publishing’s 2021 Grain & Milling Annual, once the current expansion project is completed, milling capacity at North Dakota Mill will be nearly double that of the nation’s second largest flour mill, Ardent Mills’ 35,260-cwt-per-day plant in Hastings, Minnesota, US.