Neil Doty, Northern Ag Development Corporation

Northern Ag Development Corporation conducted a feasibility study analysis that employed three interrelated components: an industry and market feasibility analysis, a product and technology analysis, and a financial feasibility analysis. The study focused upon the production of milled whole corn products whose intrinsic nutritional value for human consumption is superior to individual fractionated corn constituents.

Whole corn meals and flours contain the original proportion of natural constituents excepting moisture. Corn’s components are Starch (61%), Fat (4%), Protein (8%), Fiber (11%), and Water (16%). Industrially, the four primary components of corn are fractionated to produce a huge variety of useful products.

Three major consumer trends have converged within the food industry and to a great extent in the pet food industry as well. Those trends consist of a sizeable portion of the consuming public seeking products that feature whole grain, gluten free, and non GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) ingredients. Milling of whole corn to produce whole grain flour products in North Dakota for ingredient use in foods would supply whole grain, gluten free, non GMO whole corn flour to food manufacturers eager to address consumption demand from the worldwide public.

The study concluded that the market for whole grain, gluten free, non GMO ingredients is growing at a much faster pace than the overall aggregate food marketplace. The North Dakota and surrounding states region has an infrastructure consisting of specialty corn producers and merchandisers to ensure adequate quantities of high quality raw material corn supply. Corn dry milling technology is well established whereby qualified expertise is available for dry mill development and operation.

Representative examples of whole grain, gluten free, non GMO products were developed at the Northern Crops Institute to demonstrate how whole corn flour ingredients can successfully be incorporated into popular food products. Whole grain, gluten free, non GMO flour, pasta, snack, and bakery products were developed at the Northern Crops Institute to demonstrate the applicability and appeal of whole corn flour in popular food products.

An analysis of the 2014 financial performance of flour milling companies concluded that in general the composite flour milling business was on average profitable with discretionary owner earnings of 6.5% and after tax net profit of 3.31% on a combined average of $20.5 million in annual sales. This study provided an example of capital equipment and facility resources required to achieve $20 million in ingredient sales. Industry and market; technology and product; and financial analyses indicate that a North Dakota corn-based dry milling enterprise is feasible provided adequate capital and human resources are identified and provided upon launching the enterprise. North Dakota is home to a number of manufacturers of intermediate milled and refined products and a corn-based dry milling enterprise would complement those established North Dakota-based businesses.