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Profit-Sharing Mill Rakes In Hard Work, Record Sales

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 4:28am

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — After a record year at North Dakota's state-owned flour mill, workers are splitting up more than $1.2 million in profit-sharing payments.

The Grand Forks mill has about 130 employees. Vance Taylor, its president and general manager, said profit-sharing checks averaging about $9,500 would be distributed at a company picnic Tuesday.

The mill recently reported a record $13.2 million profit for its last budget year, which ended June 30. The profit-sharing payments were calculated as 18.65 percent of each employee's earnings during that time, provided that they worked at least 1,000 hours at the flour mill and were still employed there on June 30.

In the past decade, profit-sharing payments averaged just over 6 percent of earnings each year, Taylor said. The mill was unprofitable in 2008 and 2009 and didn't make the payments; its 2009 loss of $9.7 million was the worst in its 88-year history.

"Our gain-sharing program played a big part in our success," Taylor said. "It really works. It's an important part of how we run the plant."

The mill makes bakery flour for bread and baked goods, as well as semolina and durum flour, which are used to manufacture pasta. It markets bread machine and pancake mixes and is a leading supplier of organic flours. It shipped more than 1 billion pounds of flour during its last budget year.

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