MANHATTAN, KANSAS, U.S. — Millers had the opportunity to improve their management skills in the Managing Mill Performance course held by the International Grains Program (IGP) on Jan. 31 – Feb. 4.

The course was a collaboration of Kansas State University (KSU) and the International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM.) Five participants came from across the U.S. to attend.

“In the Managing Mill Performance course, participants learn to analyze the impact of many facets of mill management including employee motivation, food and employee safety, utility management and integrated pest management solutions,” said Mark Fowler, course coordinator and IGP associate director.

Course participant Chris Labbe, vice-president of Kerr Pacific Corp., Portland, Oregon, U.S., who comes from a family business, took interest in participating in the course because he saw an opportunity to get a broader perspective of the industry.

“My goal was to connect all of the points and finer details that growing up in the business that I didn’t understand before,” he said. “There are very few in our generation that have graduated with an actual milling degree and so sometimes it is harder to understand and see the whole picture of what flour milling encompasses.”

To round out the participant’s experience, the course paired classroom material with hands on learning instruction.

“Flour milling is a unique process that cannot be learned solely in the classroom or out of a book,” Fowler said. “Flour milling must be experienced and the hands on opportunities in our milling laboratories and in the Hal Ross mill on are an invaluable part of the learning experience.”

Labbe agrees with Fowler and adds, “The quality of facilities and tools brought all of the material together. I really like the impartiality; this was more of an encompassing course than I had originally expected.”

This class is just one example of the partnership courses offered through IGP. In addition to flour milling, IGP regularly offers short courses in grain purchasing, feed manufacturing and risk management. For more information about IGP programs, go to the IGP website