Grain News

LifeLine Foods Opens New Corn Mill at St. Joseph, MO Facility

Date Posted: April 1, 2014

LifeLine Foods invited its members and community leaders Thursday to the unveiling of a new state-of-the-art corn mill.

Dr. Matt Gibson, vice president for sales and tech services, said the event was held in tandem with an annual meeting of majority owner AgraMarke Quality Grains.

At that gathering, LifeLine Chief Executive Officer Robin Venn wrapped up the current state of the business for producers.

The celebration highlighted a commitment to the mill that involved raising $8 million in equity among members in 2013.

“It’s a great accomplishment,” said George Quinn, LifeLine’s chairman of the board and a Chillicothe, Mo., farmer. “They’re going to utilize more corn.”

Mr. Quinn and Mr. Venn said a handful of jobs already have been added because of the additional equipment, with more employment possible as product lines are added. About 150 employees work in the food and ethanol production sides of LifeLine.

AgraMarke and local officials later spent the afternoon touring the mill, which was built by Swiss-based Buhler.

Company representatives touted the machinery as the newest, most efficient corn dry-milling technology available — and the only one of its kind in the United States.

Those on the tours saw products turned out by the plant, such as corn and tortilla chips, flaking grits, brewer’s grits, and masa flour.

For instance, Dr. Gibson said LifeLine is in the midst of increasing its masa output by 40 percent.

The new mill is a 24/7 enterprise and was commissioned in late November.

It can grind 50 tons of corn per hour and is designed to improve yields and food safety.

“It’s more about volume than revenue,” Mr. Venn said. “Our business grew last year and continues to grow.”

Patt Lilly, president and chief executive officer of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, was among dignitaries taken on one of the tours. He said the enhanced equipment demonstrates “obviously a great investment here ... It speaks well for the future of St. Joe.”

AgraMarke is a Missouri cooperative of about 650 area corn producers.

Kansas-based ICM Inc. owns the remainder of the firm and researches cellulosic ethanol at laboratories adjacent to the plant.

More information on this story can be found at the St. Joe Channel website.

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