The Kansas Department of Commerce announced today that Heartland Mill Inc. of Marienthal has received $11,600 in Kansas Industrial Retraining (KIR) funds to provide employee training on a new global food certification standard used by its customers.
The new certification system is called Safe Quality Foods (SQF) and will be incorporated into existing technology for milling hard winter wheat into white flour, wheat germ and wheat bran. Twenty-nine employees will receive training from outside consultants and company officials. In addition to the KIR funding provided by the Department, Heartland Mill is providing matching funds of $33,959 for a total value of $45,559.
“Heartland Mill is proud to work with the Kansas Department of Commerce, as this working relationship shows to us that KDOC is concerned that companies in Kansas move forward in the right direction,” said Mark Nightengale, general manager of Heartland Mill. “The Global Food Safety Initiative is now here, and companies are required to get on board and move into this food safety program. Heartland Mill is taking these steps and will continue to do so.”
The company is a small, farmer owned business founded in 1985. The owners and other suppliers grow a diversity of certified organic grains and flours, but hard red winter wheat is the company’s mainstay. The company has markets across the United States and internationally, including Canada and Venezuela. The company has revenues of more than $6 million.
The KIR program is a job retention tool that helps employees of restructuring companies who are likely to be displaced because of obsolete or inadequate job skills and knowledge. Eligible industries include basic enterprises that are restructuring operations through incorporation of new technology, diversification of production or the development and implementation of new production activities. At least one current employee must be trained to qualify for assistance.
“We are pleased to partner with Heartland Mill to provide training funds,” said Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George. “It’s important that companies like Heartland can quickly seize upon opportunities to expand their services or meet changing business conditions. Kansas Industrial Retraining funds allow companies to retain their current workforce.”