MANHATTAN, KANSAS, U.S. — The International Grains Program (IGP) hosted a course that was specially designed for employees of Cargill/Horizon Flour Milling. The 19 participants that attended the Cargill/Horizon Introduction to Flour Milling short course, held Sep. 12-16 at the Kansas State University IGP Conference Center, did not portray the program’s typical operative milling audience that it serves.

“These participants represented every area of their company from human resources to technical service, and included both industry veterans to those just getting their feet wet,” said Mark Fowler, IGP associate director and course coordinator. “The diversity of the group’s job responsibilities was key in adding depth to the course.”

This course provides a general overview of the principles of the milling process, terminology, wheat quality and flour performance evaluation. Participants have the opportunity to experience hands-on learning through labs focusing on wheat milling and baking at the Hal Ross Flour Mill and Shellenberger Hall Baking Lab.

For two participants, it was that diversity reflected in the curriculum that drove their experience during the course.

“My role is to provide assistance and create communication between the people running our business on every level to help them make the right decision,” said Micah Cook, senior supply chain analyst for Horizon Milling. “I am new to the industry, but I am finding a standard in the type of skills that are applicable everywhere.”

In the case of Kevin Jones, technical service manager from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the course’s diversity served as a refresher and allowed him to experience the entire milling process.

“I was intrigued by every aspect because I don’t get to typically see every step of the process, so I was excited to get to see results,” said Jones, who has been with Horizon Milling Canada for six years and has been a baker for 45 years. “It is important to keep up to speed with trends and help educate those who come into the business and those who don’t understand the importance of eating wheat.”

According to Fowler, courses that are designed specifically for a company always have a higher level of interaction between participants.

“This group gained a better understanding of their industry, which allowed them to communicate better, ask difficult questions and create a positive teambuilding atmosphere,” he said.

Cook confirms that experience by saying, “Cargill has a lot of new employees and identifies IGP as a great training program.”

Jones adds, “We need to strive to work better together and understand that this is what happens when this happens.”