The Fresh Loaf

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Wheat grain and flour

South Dakota Farmer's picture
South Dakota Farmer

Wheat grain and flour

I am a 5th generation family farmer from north eastern South Dakota.  I have a question about wheat flour quality and availability.  I raise hard red spring wheat, oats, corn and soybeans.  I have been thinking about starting my own stone ground flour mill and sell sacked whole grain and sacked flour direct to the consumer.  I would utilize a identity preserve program were the consumer could track the grain from the table to the field.  All products will be Non-GMO and high quality. I can raise the grain Organically but I do not like the how organic programs are run.  Example a producer could use the worst toxic chemical in the world and then three years later declare his land organic.  It takes many years to get rid of some toxins and some will never leave the soil when used.  I use a different program that naturally cleans the soil.  I have even had my soil tested by a EPA  lab and have been found to be classified chemically free.  I am looking for feedback on this idea.  my personal email is   

clazar123's picture

Sounds like you are at the beginning of an adventure. My initial reaction is "Wonderful! " but I do have some feedback I hope is constructive.

My first feedback is that I am not sure what you are asking feedback on. If it is the idea of selling clean,non-GMO hard red spring wheat flour that can be tracked field to table, I think that is a great idea, as I am a consumer and target customer.

If you are asking whether the  official "organic" designation is important to your business success, I would say it is vital. I hate to say this but the customer perception of your product is almost all that matters, especially at first. That is what makes them order it in the first place. After that your customer service and product quality will help move repeat orders. The word/designation "Organic" is a key word.The consumer knows nothing about the backstory and educating the consumer is a whole other project. And that brings me to more feedback.

Stay focused. When you are starting a new business venture, you need a plan. It should be written and you should be seeing it EVERYDAY. I also advise you talk to someone who has done something like this. SCORE is an organization that provides mentoring to people that want to start a business-and that is what you will be doing-even if you think you are farming.

Aberdeen Branch

416 Production St. North.Aberdeen, SD 57401.Phone: 605-626-2565
 The biggest barrier for people buying your product is the distance between production and customer. Shipping adds tremendously to the final cost of your product on the customer end. There are many ways to solve these issues and a good business plan is instrumental. Also, see how other producers have solved this problem.  As a personal experience, my daughter(who lives in Minneapolis,MN) has inlaws that live in Brookings,SD. When she visits them, she stops at a local Health Food store and buys me a 25# bag of HRS wheat berries from a local farmer and hangs onto them until I visit her again. I live in Milwaukee,WI. What a chain! But shipping cost is so prohibitive!  Locally sold wheat also expensive at organic grocers here because they ship it in,too. I haven't found a local grower of HRS wheat. Seems soft wheat is the variety grown and there is no "Yellow pages" of local farmers and what they grow.  You have a learning curve ahead of you but this is an entirely do-able idea. Get good advice, stay on track and have a written plan.  Good luck! Take a look on this site,also. There are discussions on how people obtain their wheat.
Wild-Yeast's picture

Take a look at what Keith Giusto and the folks at Central Milling in Logan, Utah have been developing over the past several years. I think it will be helpful in your market pursuit:

Keep us all posted on the progress of your efforts.

Best regards,