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Published January 23, 2012, 06:23 PM

ND State Mill Profits Down, But Still Healthy

(AP) - North Dakota's Mill and Elevator saw its profits drop steeply during October, November and December from the previous budget year's record levels, but they were still among the highest in the history of the state-owned mill, its manager said Monday.

By: Dale Wetzel, Associated Press

(AP) - North Dakota's Mill and Elevator saw its profits drop steeply during October, November and December from the previous budget year's record levels, but they were still among the highest in the history of the state-owned mill, its manager said Monday.

The mill's quarterly profit was $2.2 million during the quarter, 36 percent less than the $3.5 million from the previous year, according to a report presented to the state Industrial Commission.

In the first six months of its budget year, which began July 1, the mill has made a profit of $4.9 million, the report said. The mill made almost $6.3 million during the same period last year on its way to an annual profit of $16 million, a number the mill's general manager, Vance Taylor, said Monday he did not expect to match.

"Going forward, we expect the third quarter to be slightly slower, due to the normal New Year's resolution dieting that we always see," Taylor said. "I think we're going to continue to stay busy."

Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner make up the commission, which is the mill's board of directors.

Taylor said flour shipments for the first six months of the year reached an all-time high, of 5.94 million hundredweight. Its sales totaled $163.6 million during the period.

Most of the flour was ground from spring wheat and intended for use in making breads and rolls, although almost 10 percent was durum flour, which is used to make pasta.

The mill sells most of its flour in bulk to customers, although it also markets bags of flour through grocery stores, as well as pancake and bread mixes.

Taylor said he had been concerned about the mill's ability to obtain good-quality wheat, given the flooding last spring and summer than prevented many farmers from planting crops at all.

"With the late planting and all of that, we were a little bit worried about the crop, but it's actually been .... really nice milling quality," Taylor said during an interview with The Associated Press. "The customers like the flour, it's working very well in the bakeries."

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