Ag venture formed to mill wheat for local use

by Eric Schroeder
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GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. — Seaway Valley Capital Corp. has joined Fields as Factories, L.L.C. and Golden Technology Ventures to form North County Farms, L.L.C., a company that will pursue value-added agricultural production, processing and marketing ventures with an initial focus on flour production.

"North County Farms shall initiate its activities by milling wheat from local crops in an effort to create value in a market defined by volatile crop, food and transportation costs," said Kevin Richardson, plant manager at the new mill. "We believe that highly concentrated crop and food processing operations located long distances from end markets created the opportunity for North County Farms to capitalize on well defined supply chain opportunities.

"We feel a meaningful distributed food production opportunity currently exists in northern New York with respect to wheat and flour, and we are exploring other opportunities as well."

Mr. Richardson said that at full capacity, the flour mill would be able to mill 85,000 bus of wheat per year (primarily locally grown soft red), good enough for production of 4 million lbs of white and whole wheat flour and more than 1 million lbs of wheat midds. Per day, the mill will handle approximately 130 cwts when operating at full capacity.

The mill is a new facility that has been built at the site of a former bakery just outside the city limits of Watertown, N.Y. The company will have a 30-ton silo on site, and for finished products will have short storage capacity large enough for 18 pallets of 50-lb bags. Clipper Separation Technologies of Bluffton, Ind., supplied the grain cleaning equipment, while Meadows Mills, Inc. of North Wilkesboro, N.C., supplied the mill equipment and sifter.

Seaway Valley Capital Corp. invests in a variety of industries, including retail, restaurants, consumer products, media, business services, manufacturing and technology. One of Seaway’s portfolio companies is Alteri Bakery, which has served the north country region with baked foods since 1971. Alteri is one of the last traditional Italian bakeries in the area, and product lines includes Italian bread and specialty pastry items, such as cakes, cookies, muffins, bagels, and specialty gift baskets. In addition, Alteri's recently assumed the production of sub rolls for the entire Jreck Subs franchise chain of 47 locations. Alteri is expected to use some of the flour produced at the weight, primarily the higher content flour. In addition, the mill will wholesale to local distributors for pastry flour and pancake mix.

Golden Technology Management invests in and manages new energy and environmental businesses with a focus on community scale energy, food and water.

Fields as Factories L.L.C. is a diversified agriculture business located near Sackets Harbor. Founded in 1977 with 100 acres of rented land, the company has been transformed to include 5,000 acres of owned and rented land raising a variety of field crops and vegetables such as corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, hay, pumpkins and sweet corn. The company also includes a 650-cow dairy, a grain processing enterprise, and Old McDonalds Farm, a farm tour and agricultural education business.

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