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Pasta Montana opens new $6.5 million processing line, increases production

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Dry pasta manufacturer, Pasta Montana, owned by Nippon Flour Mills, marked its 20th anniversary this week in Great Falls, Mont., by opening a new $6.5 million processing line. Pasta Montana’s 91,000-square-foot facility, which employs 115, will increase production capacity from 55 to 80 million pounds of pasta annually — a 28 percent rise.

“Our new production line will move 4,850 pounds of pasta per hour, and operate 24 hours each day, enabling us to continue to grow our staff,” says Randy Gilbertson, chief operating officer of Pasta Montana.  “We are honored to be recognized by the Great Falls Montana Development Authority and Montana Wheat and Barley Committee for our contribution to the region.”

Founded in 1997, Pasta Montana’s goal was to create the world’s finest pasta using a blend of wheat, water and technology. In the spring of 2000, Nippon Flour Mills, Japan’s oldest industrial flour miller and a leading producer of flour-related products, purchased Pasta Montana to help the company go global.

“Japanese ownership strengthens our commitment to quality. We benefit from having the strong financial backing of a solid, established, publicly-traded Japanese company,” continues Gilbertson.

CEO of Pasta Montana, Miharu Kobayashi, and CEO of Nippon, Hiroshi Sawada, along with Japanese representatives for the consul general of Japan and U.S. relations attended an event on Aug. 21, recognizing Pasta Montana’s 20 years of pasta production in Great Falls.

“We are appreciative of the great nature and nice people from the state of Montana. We are happy with the success of our business in Great Falls,” says Hiroshi Sawada, CEO of Nippon.

The Great Falls region of Montana is home to four Japanese-owned companies: Pasta Montana, Columbia Grain, Montana Specialty Mills and Helena Chemical.

“Japanese companies are investing and trading in Great Falls because the Japanese consumer insists on the highest quality ingredients, and the agriculture we produce here is among the world’s best,” says Brett Doney, president and CEO of Great Falls Montana Development Authority. “The high-quality ingredients plus low manufacturing costs, supply chain partnerships, skilled workers, and numerous other benefits give food manufacturers an advantage locating here.”

“Pasta Montana’s success proves that agri-processing operations are thriving in the Great Falls region,” says Collin Watters, executive vice president, Montana Wheat and Barley Committee. “From locally owned Montana Specialty Mills and Timeless Seeds to major global companies such as General Mills, Grain Craft and Malteurop, companies worldwide are turning to our region for our robust agriculture and agri-processing industry.”

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