Grain Millers investing $100 million

Grain Millers Canada Corp. (GMCC) has announced the initiation of the second phase of a project to add 80,000 metric tonnes of oat product production capacity at its mill in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

The project, totalling $100 million when completed, reinforces the company’s leadership in the sourcing, milling, and delivery of safe, responsible and identity-preserved ingredients to customers in the food and beverage industries.

“We’ve spent the last three or fours discussing, deliberating, debating about when to expand,” said Terry Tyson, Director of Grain Procurement for GMCC, in an interview with Yorkton This Week.

Tyson said the company also has an aging plant un Eugene, OR., its first, that was under consideration for an investment, but in the end Yorkton was seen as a more logical choice.

“We looked at where expansion made the most sense business wise, and it was here,” he said.

Tyson said the local area has a number of advantages, including access to oats.

“We’re right in the sweet spot for oats supply,” he said.

Tyson said typically oats supplies for the Yorkton mill have come from farms within 100 kilometres, and that is likely to continue, even with the expansion.

And more oats will be required. When complete, expected to be in late 2018, the expansion will basically double the plants capacity north of the city from its existing 80,000 tonnes annually.

The plant, which was originally built in 2001, had a start-up capacity of 25,000 to 30,000 tonnes.

“We last did a product capacity expansion in 2013,” said Tyson.

Adding a second mill is a major commitment, said Tyson.

“That was part of taking the time we took. It is a big step,” he said.

The second mill will allow greater versatility within the overall facility, including isolating organic production to a single mill flow through.

The new mill will also help the mill with its gluten free lines, said Tyson.

Phase two will include construction of a second mill at the site, said Tyson, adding phase one work has focused on expanding associated capacity needs such as warehousing, and work-in-progress storage.”

Once operational, Tyson said they will be looking at adding about 25 additional staff, bringing the overall employee base to 160.

This expansion is the latest in a series of capacity and capability investments for GMCC and Grain Millers, Inc., GMCC’s parent company.  said Steve Eilertson, President of Grain Millers, Inc.,

“Investments in our people, processes and operational technologies demonstrate our commitment to delivering safe, consistently-good food that helps people live healthier lives. We succeed when our customers succeed. We go out of our way to make sure we’re in the best position to support them— each and every day,” he said in a release.

“Our government welcomes this large $100 million investment and the 25 new, permanent jobs and the 110 construction and engineering jobs that will be created during the construction phase of this project,” said Premier Brad Wall in the same prepared release. “Our government has worked hard to strengthen the Saskatchewan Advantage and we will continue to ensure we have a competitive environment for projects like this one.”

The company expects the new milling capacity to become operational in late 2018.

Tyson said work is just now wrapping up on phase one, and phase two will launch soon.

“We’re in the very final steps of planning,” he said.

The bulk of product out of the Yorkton plant, 75-80 per cent, heads to the United States.

The bulk of the remainder is domestic,” said Tyson, adding they do export around the world as well including, the Pacific Rim, Asia, South America, Mexico, and now China.

Tyson said breaking into China with product is a big step, as the market could be significant.

“We’ve found if it’s labelled Canadian it’s desirable, aspirational almost, for people over there,” he said.

Grain Millers, Inc. is a privately-owned food manufacturer specializing in the sourcing, handling and processing of healthy cereals and grain-based ingredients. Founded in 1985, the company operates four oat mills and various other grain, milling and food facilities across North America. For more information, visit www.grainmillers.com.

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