Star of the West Milling Company, headquartered in Frankenmuth, Michigan, recently announced plans to dramatically expand current flour milling capacity in Ligonier, Indiana. Ligonier is currently home to one of Star of the West’s five wheat flour mills with a daily capacity of 800,000 lbs. soft wheat flour. The company will be adding 1,500,000 pounds of conventional soft wheat production and 500,000 of pathogen mitigated capacity at the Indiana location. The estimated cost of the project remains undisclosed.
The project consists of a seven-story slipform structure to house the milling operation. The project also includes additional feed storage and loadout capacity, additional flour storage, two twin packaging lines, and tote-filling capabilities.
“The Ligonier, Indiana project is a significant step forward in meeting our strategic objective of partnering with producers and food processors with the goal of feeding the world” stated Jim Howe, CEO of Star of the West. “Our business model is diverse within the ag sector. Our ability to enhance and expand our wheat milling focus fits perfectly with our long-term company plans.”
Mike Fassezke, president of the flour milling division for Star of the West, commented, “We are extremely fortunate to be partnered with a growth-minded, forward-looking customer base. We are committed to meeting their needs and sustaining those partnerships we have developed over many years. We recognize that the project is ambitious, but with the benefits realized, both financially and operationally, from our Willard, Ohio mill project, it just made sense to move forward and position our company for the future.”
In addition to added capacity for conventional flour production, Karina Spencer, vice president of flour milling division for Star of the West, said the company is also looking at marketing an affordable pathogen mitigated flour.
“We’re working with a supplier partner that can deliver a validated 5-log reduction of naturally occurring pathogens, on a commercial scale, without altering the functionality of the flour,” Spencer said. “This will be the first application of this technology in a commercial flour mill in the United States.”
Initial projections would support demand for an additional 9 million bushels of soft red winter wheat production in the northeast Indiana region. Included in the project is funding for a full-time wheat specialist that will be based in the Ligonier area and work directly with local growers to maximize both yield and quality of their wheat crop.
“Over the years, our agronomy team based in the Saginaw Valley and Thumb region of Michigan have been able to work together with local farmers to enhance both yield and quality. Wheat is a crop that has tremendous soil health benefits and we are excited to support the Indiana wheat grower in their decision to include soft red winter wheat in their crop rotation,” said Kate Knowlton, Ligonier plant manager for Star of the West.
Completion of the project is expected in September 2025.