In 1986, Grain Millers’ purchased its first property: Zellner Milling in Eugene, Oregon. This was quickly followed by the acquisition of the mill formerly known as NorOats in St. Ansgar, Iowa. In addition to establishing Grain Millers’ presence in the Midwest and opening up East coast markets, the mill also became the largest employer in the region. Today, it’s known for its impressive size and cleanliness, and is widely recognized as the most technically advanced oat mill in North America.
The first year of the millennium, 2001, was an important year for Grain Millers. With the purchase of a mill in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, we added 58 new employees to our family. The mill is an “origin mill,” meaning that the oats are delivered directly from local farms to the mill by truck, limiting farmer risk and better protecting their interests.
In the same year, Grain Millers constructed its Eugene MPF, bringing chemical-free and organic oat fiber to the marketplace. Our scientists and technical specialists made a breakthrough discovery when they developed a proprietary mechanical process that produced the first ever organic oat fiber without the use of chemical treatment. In 2004, Grain Millers purchased our St. Peter cleaning facility, adding the capability to export organic and Non-GMO soybeans that are purchased directly from Midwest American growers.
Our expansion continued with the commission of the St. Ansgar C-Mill in 2007, which doubled production capabilities with all-new equipment and set the tone for an elevated level of scale & scope in the areas of ingredient production and food safety.
Grain Millers’ C-mill investment in St. Ansgar was followed by the 2011 St. Ansgar warehouse expansion, which also added a can line to the production facility. In 2010, the company purchased a mill in Marion, Indiana, which allowed entrance to the organic and Non-GMO corn market. In 2012, the company completed the another warehouse expansion there, increasing storage capacity for Non-GMO products by 93,910 square feet, and increasing packaged material production by 36% since 2010.
In the same year, Grain Millers added Enreco, based in Newton, WI, to its facilities. This marked our entrance into the whole and ground flax seed market. This venture expanded in 2013 with the purchase of the Saskatoon flax facility, which expanded our purchasing and cleaning capabilities of whole and ground flax seed.
In 2014, 2 facility expansions were completed: the Yorkton facility addition and the St. Ansgar MPF facility. In St. Ansgar, the completion of this fiber plant expanded our production capacity for chemical-free and organic oat fibers and specialty flours to a second location. Both expansions allowed Grain Millers to provide more employment opportunities to area residents. Between 2001 and 2014, both Yorkton and Saskatoon locations saw a 94% increase of salaried employees; by 2015, that number had increased to 124%.
We continued expanding and improving in 2015 with the addition of color sorting and conveyance technology at our St. Peter, MN, facility. We also expanded the capacity of our Marion, IN, warehouse in 2016, adding maintenance and cleaning upgrades in eastward and westward expansions.
In 2013 and 2016, we were proud to install new equipment lines at our Yorkton and St. Ansgar facilities that allowed for the production of Gluten-Free oat products, serving our Gluten-Free and gluten sensitive customers by expanding our capabilities to meet their needs at double the purity required by the FDA.
In 2021, we are proud to note that our expansions over the years mean that our team of committed technicians has grown significantly. Since 2001, the number of employees at our Yorkton, Saskatoon, and Rycroft locations has seen a marked 265% increase from 2001 and a 63% increase from 2015.
In addition to this growth in our staff, we also commissioned a B-mill at our Yorkton facility in 2020.
Our 35th anniversary isn’t just a celebration of our success. It’s a celebration of the relationships we’ve built with customers, a dedicated team, and the communities we serve. We look forward to sharing more of our story in 2021.