BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Industrial Commission on Monday, March 9, approved spending $8.3 million for an upgrade in the scales in the truck unloading facilities at the North Dakota Mill and Elevator in Grand Forks.

Vance Taylor, president and chief executive officer, says the project will speed up four pits. “We unload about 200 trucks a day,” Taylor said. “This should reduce the waiting time on average about 35% per day.”

The company will let bids and construction will start this summer, with completion in 2021.

Three years ago, the company added a pit on the southwest corner of the plant and doubled truck and rail speed.

The mill is 97 years old, with all of its milling built since 2000. It produces products from spring wheat and durum wheat, grinding an average of 115,000 bushels a day or 33 million bushels a year. The state-owned mill is touted as the largest single location flour mill in the U.S., with 49,500 hundredweights per day capacity, 4.95 million pounds. It specializes in high-quality spring wheat and durum wheat products that are known for their absorption and “strength” providing “stronger doughs, able to carry more ingredients," Taylor said.

It is known as a high-efficiency elevator, running eight mill units with just five operators.

The scale project is another among a list of significant recent improvements:

  • 2016-2017: $9.3 million to install high-speed rail and truck unloading. This included 4,000 feet of rail track.

  • 2015- 2016: $38.7 million to add G Mill, which increased by 11,500 hundredweights per day capacity, with leaving space for future addition.

  • 2015-2016: $2.3 million to upgrade power distribution.

  • 2011-2013: $8.5 million to rebuild and reflow the K Mill, in three phases.

  • 2016: $1 million, added a “family flour” packing line for 5- and 10-pound bags, sold under the Dakota Maid brand, accounting for 2% of overall sales. (In addition about 1% of sales are organic.)

  • 2005: $3.5 million to add a 40,000-square-foot flour warehouse.

The Industrial Commission is made up by the North Dakota governor, attorney general and agriculture commissioner, which serves as its board of directors. By statute, 50% of the mill's profits go to the state general fund; 5% go to the North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission, and 45% go back into the facility.