KAWG Director Attends Customized Introduction to Flour Milling Course

Posted January 7, 2016

IGP Institute hosts flour milling course for state wheat commissioners and staff

Former IGP Institute Associate Director and Course Manager Mark Fowler describes the process of the hammer mill to participants of the Introduction to Flour Milling for Wheat Commissioners course.

Former IGP Institute Associate Director and Course Manager Mark Fowler describes the process of the hammer mill to participants of the Introduction to Flour Milling for Wheat Commissioners course.

Kansas State University’s IGP Institute hosted 14 wheat growers and industry personnel representing state wheat commissioners from across the world on December 8-10, 2015.

“This course is one of the more diverse in regard to their job responsibilities,” says Mark Fowler, former IGP Institute associate director and course coordinator. “Shift millers, grain merchants, quality assurance managers, technical service managers have all previously attended.”

This customized course was intended to provide participants with better understanding of the milling and baking process. As a producer himself, Ken Wood, Vice President of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, has learned the ins and the outs of how to grow wheat, but milling was not a topic that he was familiar with.

“I know how to produce wheat, and I’m pretty good at eating it, but I wasn’t very aware of what it has to go through to get back to my plate,” says Wood.

The complexity of flour milling was new to many who attended the course, but the group was able to do some hands on activities to learn more about how the wheat they produce ends up on your table.

Besides learning about the milling process, participants were also able to discuss the milling industry as a whole. Artisanal milling and baking is a trend that the industry is seeing a rise in, says Wood, but it is a topic that he had never pondered about on his combine.

“The amount of different products that milling can produce is astounding,” says Wood. “Being able to walk through the processes in an actual mill, learn from these great instructors and do it all with my peers made this experience an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down.”

Brian O’Toole, chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates and a North Dakota Wheat Commissioner also participated in the course. Through this training, he broadened his knowledge of wheat as they studied the process that transforms wheat to a consumer product as well as how different qualities can affect the final product outcome.

“There is no better way to find out about milling than to come ask Mark Fowler,” says O’Toole. “I got hands-on experience in the mill. I got hands-on experience grinding wheat. I’d recommend this course to anybody that has a little bit of curiosity about how that little piece of bread stays with them.”

This is just one example of the specialized trainings offered through IGP’s flour milling and grain processing curriculum. In addition, IGP offers courses in the areas of feed manufacturing and grain quality management, and grain marketing and risk management. For more information visit the IGP website at www.grains.k-state.edu/igp.

by Kelly Hanigan, IGP Institute