Didion Milling, Inc. is one of the newest milling businesses in the United States. The Wisconsin-based corn miller entered milling in the 1990s, but only much more recently has the company ventured actively into the industrial milled corn products business. Still, over the past several years this family-owned business has become a fixture within milling, active in industry affairs and increasingly respected as an effective competitor. News of a deadly explosion at the company’s Cambria, Wisconsin, mill on May 31 was met with universal grief and solidarity across milling.
While thankfully rare, fires and accidents have been a part of milling forever. Most U.S. milling companies have experienced a fire and explosion at some or various points in their histories. Coming on the heels of other unfortunate incidents without precedent in milling this adds another layer of pain for milling to the Didion tragedy. In recent months, numerous companies have been hit by flour recalls because of allergens or contaminants that pose potential health threats to consumers and represent a difficult challenge for milling to overcome.
It is with that backdrop in mind that the sense of solidarity within milling following the Didion accident is so welcome. With consolidation over the past generation, the fraternity of companies in milling has become smaller. Expressions of concern from across the industry and offers of help in response to the explosion underscore the powerful resilience presently necessary within a business that has never been easy.