TAMPA, FLORIDA, US — Ardent Mills’ new flour mill in Port Redwing on the east side of Tampa Bay escaped damage from Hurricane Ian, a massive storm that swept through the southwest and central part of the state on Sept. 28.
Troy Anderson, vice president of operations, told World Grain that the Port Redwing facility, which is located just several hundred yards from the sea, did not sustain any damage.
“All of our team members have also checked in safe to date, some with minor property damage and power outages,” Anderson said.
As of Sept. 27, the storm was projected by most forecasters to make landfall near Tampa, which likely would have caused catastrophic damage to coastal property in the area. However, the category 4 hurricane turned east on Sept. 28 and made landfall near Fort Myers in southwest Florida.
Ardent Mills opened the new mill, which has daily production capacity of 17,500 cwts, in March. It replaced a mill located inland that the company sold in 2018 to the city of Tampa.
Built at a cost of over $100 million, the mill is situated on a CSX rail line and also can receive wheat by ocean vessel.
In most cases, it was too early to determine damage to agricultural production areas in the path of Hurricane Ian. Major industry expected to be affected by the storm included sugar cane, citrus and fertilizer.
It was expected to impact Florida’s key fertilizer industry, especially phosphate, which is one of the three key fertilizers used by farmers. Fertilizer prices, which surged last fall and winter due to tight supplies and logistics issues, then worsened due to the war in Ukraine and already were well above year-ago levels. The storm was expected to cross major phosphate production areas, including Mosaic Co.’s New Wales plant. Mosaic is one of the three largest fertilizer manufacturers in the United States.