U.S. agrifood giant Archer Daniels Midland is set to permanently close its century-old Medicine Hat, Alta. flour mill at the end of May.
The Chicago-based food firm quietly announced Jan. 31 it would close the former Ogilvie Flour Mills plant and supply the plant's customers from its "larger, more centrally-located" flour mill at Calgary.
The decision followed "careful consideration as we look to optimize our milling operations," the company said.
The Medicine Hat plant's 40 employees will get severance and "outplacement services" and will be encouraged to seek work at other ADM locations, company spokesperson Jackie Anderson said in a statement.
According to Ogilvie archives at the University of Manitoba, the Medicine Hat facility was built in 1913 and underwent a major capacity expansion in 1956.
That expansion followed the closure of Medicine Hat's Lake of the Woods Milling Co. facility, which Ogilvie bought along with the rest of that company and its Five Roses flour brand in 1954.
In 1968, John Labatt Ltd. bought Ogilvie, which evolved into Canada's largest flour miller by the time ADM bought its operations from Labatt in 1994. ADM sold the Five Roses brand to Smucker Foods in 2007.
Counting the Medicine Hat facility, ADM puts its Canadian wheat mills' combined daily processing capacity at about 4,000 tonnes. The company makes flours, bakery mixes, bran, wheat germ and other ingredients at mills in Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal and three Ontario facilities, at Midland, Mississauga, and Port Colborne.