North Dakota's state-owned flour mill in Grand Forks is undergoing a $4.4 million expansion that will include nine new bulk storage bins.
The state Industrial Commission approved the expansion last week to increase capacity at the mill, the Bismarck Tribune reported. The three-member panel is headed by Gov. Jack Dalrymple.
"The new storage will reduce bulk loading crew labor costs, reduce mill downtime and reduce bulk rail car leasing cost," said Vance Taylor, the mill's general manager.
Taylor estimated cost savings as a result of the project at $656,000 annually.
The project is slated to be completed next spring.
The state-owned flour mill began operating in 1922. Most of the mill's profits go into North Dakota's general fund, which finances a variety of state programs.
The mill buys most of its wheat from North Dakota farmers. It processes the state's staple crop, hard red spring wheat, into bakery flour, which is used to make breads. It also mills durum into semolina and durum flour to make pasta. Most of the mill's production is bulk to food makers. It markets 5- and 10-pound bags of flour sold in grocery stores, along with packaged pancake flour and bread machine mixes.
North Dakota typically leads the nation in production of spring wheat and durum wheat.
The mill cleans, processes and mills more than 23 million bushels of spring and durum wheat every year.