USA – US-based leading flour supplier, Ardent Mills has announced that it is closing close four U.S. flour mills to reflect the analysis of current and prospective flour demand, with a goal to enhance operation efficiency, reports World Grain.

The mills have a combined milling capacity of 23,600 cwts and are located in Macon, Georgia; Rush City, Minnesota, U.S.; Loudonville, Ohio; and Red Lion, Pennsylvania.

Based on 2019 Grain & Milling Annual data, the aggregate capacity to be shuttered equates to 4.8% of Ardent Mills’ 490,800 cwts of U.S. flour milling capacity across 36 mills.

With its three Canadian mills, Ardent Mills daily flour milling capacity totals 530,300 cwts.

The Macon, Loudonville and Red Lion mills will operate until June 30. The Rush City mill will close during the first quarter of 2020.

The Macon and Red Lion mills grind soft wheat, Loudonville is a hard wheat mill and the Rush City mill principally grinds spring wheat and durum.

The company said it is assisting employees affected by the closing with placement efforts at other Ardent Mills locations, career support and additional transitional assistance.

“These decisions are difficult, especially because of the impact on our valued team members,” said Daniel P. Dye, chief executive officer of Ardent Mills.

“However, this is a critical step to put greater focus and investment on the rest of our plants.

“Our growth plan calls for strategic investments in our unmatched network of community mills; these changes allow us to grow accordingly and better meet customer needs.”

Despite low flour demand outlook, Ardent Mills said it is committed to boost its milling business.

The company plans to build a new flour mill and grain storage terminal at Port Tampa Bay, in the state of Florida.

The new plant, which will attract an investment of about US$62 million is expected to become operational in 2021.

“Ardent Mills’ vision and values remain the foundation of our organization and will carry us forward,” Dye said.

“Our dedicated team is committed to working closely with customers, farmers, and suppliers, and bringing innovation to the market with strategic moves like the introduction of The Annex by Ardent Mills.

“The future of grain-based solutions is filled with opportunities.”

The announcement comes after ADM Milling, one of the ABCD companies said that it would close flour mills in the US as it embarks on business realignment to boost growth.