LIGONIER, INDIANA, US — Star of the West Milling Co., Frankenmuth, Michigan, US, plans to build a new flour mill at the site of its Ligonier, Indiana, US, flour mill while also adding pathogen mitigated flour production capacity at the facility. The project would increase the company’s overall daily flour milling capacity by 45%.
The Ligonier flour mill currently has daily capacity to mill 8,000 cwts of soft flour. Star of the West will add 15,000 cwts of additional soft wheat flour and 5,000 cwts of pathogen mitigated flour daily production capacity. The new mill, to be built adjacent to its existing flour mill, will feature one 10,000-cwt flour milling unit, a 5,000-cwt flour milling unit and a 5,000-cwt unit completely dedicated to production of the pathogen-mitigated flour.
As part of the project, Star of the West will build a seven-story slipform structure where the mill will be installed. The project also includes additional feed storage and loadout capacity, flour storage, two twin packaging lines, and tote-filling capabilities. Completion is expected in September 2025.
“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,” said Jim Howe, chief executive officer 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 of Star of the West, said sustaining partnerships with the company’s customer base was central to the decision to more than triple flour production at the Indiana mill.
“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.” he added.
Star of the West sees a market opportunity in the production of “affordable pathogen mitigated flour,” said Karina Spencer, vice president, Flour Milling Division.
“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.”
While refraining from elaborating on the system Star of the West will install to mitigate pathogens in flour, Fassezke said the technology has been fully validated, has been successfully installed and operated in dozens of grain processing facilities around the world but has not yet been installed in a US flour mill.
With the expansion, Star of the West said it will add to its Ligonier team a full-time wheat specialist who will work directly with local growers to maximize both yield and quality of their wheat crop. Ligonier is located 50 miles northwest of Fort Wayne, Indiana, US, just south of the Indiana-Michigan state line. The mill has nearly 2 million bushels of grain storage and is served by the Norfolk Southern Railway.
Among companies Star of the West said have been engaged to build and equip the mill are Buhler, Inc., Plymouth, Minnesota, US; Todd & Sargent, Ames, Iowa, US; Cordano Packaging, Cumming, Georgia, US.; Leatherman Construction, Albion, Indiana, US; MartinRiley, Fort Wayne, Indiana, US; Kice Industries, Park City, Kansas, US; Jackson Industrial Construction, Concord, Michigan, US; Magnetic Products Inc., Highland, Michigan, US; Blower Engineering, Liberty, North Carolina, US; and REPCO, Salina, Kansas, US.
The capacity addition would be Star of the West’s first since the opening of the new flour mill in Willard in 2016. The Ligonier addition would increase Star of the West’s total milling capacity to 48,060 cwts, based on information in the Grain & Milling Annual published by Sosland Publishing Co. The company also operates mills in Frankenmuth and Quincy, Michigan, US, and in Churchville, New York, US.
Star of the West has owned the Ligonier flour mill since 1987. Established 144 years ago as the Ligonier Milling Co., the flour mill operated for most of its history as Lyon & Greenleaf Co., the business acquired in 1987. Asked whether Star of the West will rationalize any capacity in connection with the addition of the new flour mill, Fassezke declined to comment.