4 Jun 2013

Flour mill owners aim to increase production

6:33 am on 4 June 2013

The owners of a new flour mill in Timaru are aiming to expand production after going against the grain and setting up their own operation.

Farmers Mill started processing in March but was officially opened last week.

As the only independent grower-owned and operated flour producer in New Zealand, it's an act of faith by the 12 South Canterbury farmers who have invested $10 million in the venture.

Chairman Murray Turley said the control of New Zealand's flour milling industry has moved offshore over the last few decades and the Timaru mill represents a return to the strong tradition of flour production in South Canterbury.

He said the mill has gained support because it is producing 100% locally grown and produced flour and issues of food safety and security, and knowledge of where the flour is coming from have become very important in recent times.

All the grain comes from the Canterbury region with the majority coming from the mill's 12 shareholder, but some grain is also being taken from outside that shareholding base from other Canterbury farmers.

"The mill's got capacity to do 28,000 tonnes, but we've got a lot of spare capacity at this stage, but we need to get more customers on board to satisfy that capacity as time goes on."

Mr Turley said the mill is processing biscuit grade wheat for baked goods producers such as Griffin's Foods Limited and Coupland's Bakeries, but will look to expand the range of flour for bread and pastry making as well.