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State Mill turns a profit, despite COVID-19

The state Mill and Elevator in Grand Forks had a profitable fiscal year, despite the challenges of COVID-19.

Mill Manager Vance Taylor reported the fourth quarter profits at $1,412,000 – up slightly from last year’s $1,401,000.

"For the full fiscal year 2020, we had profits of $11,418,000," Taylor told the state Industrial Commission. "That's versus profits of $10,622,000 last year -- an increase of 7.5%"

Taylor said fiscal 2020 was looking like a “very nice year” – but in April, the shipping volumes dropped by 30 percent, as some restaurants and schools closed because of the pandemic.

"This was partially off-set by some nice increases in retail flower demand, and demand from customers that produce bread for grocery stores," Taylor said.

Taylor said while bag flour shipments were down 11 percent for the quarter, and two percent for the fiscal year, family flour shipments almost doubled for the fourth quarter, and was up 37 percent for the year.

"That's due to increased baking from home, due to the pandemic," Taylor said.

As for the next fiscal year, Taylor saids it isn’t clear how the pandemic will continue to affect customer demand for the flour.

"Overall, flour demand has continued to increase in July," Taylor said. "But future demand will depend mostly on restaurant activity, which drives a lot of our sales, as well as school reopenings across our market area."

North Dakota has the only state-owned mill in the U. S.

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