Ardent Mills
Dan Dye, CEO of Ardent Mills.

MIDDLEBURG, VIRGINIA, U.S. — Even as the flour milling industry struggles with serious day-to-day challenges, its leaders should always bear in mind that milling is “important and noble work,” said Dan Dye, outgoing chairman of the North American Millers’ Association.

Dye, chief executive officer of Ardent Mills, spoke to regular and associate members of NAMA and guests at a dinner Sept. 9 during the group’s annual meeting at the Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, Virginia, U.S. Thanking the millers for the opportunity to serve as NAMA chairman, Dye shared with the group a handful of principles he described as key to the industry’s future success. The five principles and his conclusions follow:

“First, we cannot forget that the work we do is important and noble work. We are providing the key ingredient for the basic staple of diets all around the world and putting on the tables of hundreds of millions of people an affordable source of nutrition and energy. Every day millers are creating products that are feeding the world — let’s take our calling seriously and put our hearts and souls into doing it well.

“Second, we must be creative, innovative and forward thinking. Even though we work in one of the longest standing industries that has been around since nearly the beginning of man, we must challenge the way we do things and be willing to change and drive innovation to stay relevant and find growth. We should be leaders when it comes to new product ideas and new processes and techniques. We should put technology to work and find ways to be better, more efficient and more effective in all that we do.

“Third, we need to tell our story and help people understand how good the products are from the products that we mill. We should be fully transparent so the public sees that we provide safe, reliable and high quality ingredients that are produced by simply taking grains grown on the farm and transforming that grain into versatile and important food ingredients. We cannot control what people say about our products or our processes, but we can tell our story with clarity and confidence to help people feel good about the grain-based products they love to enjoy.

“Fourth, we must put the safety of our people and the safety of our products above all else. We must protect the health and welfare of our people and of those that eat the products made with our ingredients. We are in the people protection and the brand protection business, and we must do this well. Personal and food safety must be more than a priority, it must be a value, a way of life every day.

“Fifth and finally, we must find ways to bring outstanding people into our industry to take us forward and continue the many great traditions of our businesses while blazing new trails that bring fresh, bold and different approaches for the future. Who will be running our mills 20 years from now? What are we doing to attract people to our industry and train and equip people to be our future millers and leaders? Let’s make the milling industry a bright and vibrant place to work. We know that the next generation wants: meaning and purpose in their work — where else can you find more meaning and purpose than providing safe, affordable, nutritious, great tasting food ingredients that help to feed the world?

“If we collectively take these common challenges seriously and act upon them with passion, commitment and clarity we turn them into opportunities — and then the future of milling will be very bright indeed.

“It has been an honor to serve as the chairman of NAMA these last two years, and I thank all of you for your commitment to our industry.”