Grain mill to be studied

Grain mill to be studied

The North Olympic Peninsula Resource Conservation and Development Council has been awarded a $93,000 USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant to develop a feasibility study and a business plan for potential construction of a new grain mill to serve local farmers and bakeries on the North Olympic Peninsula.

In 2008, Nash's Organic Produce, in a partnership with Washington State University's Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center, embarked on cultivation trials to determine whether high-quality wheat for baking breads could be grown on the peninsula.

After two years of trials, in which 40 different varieties were tested, Nash's Organic Produce is growing several varieties of hard red wheat of high nutritional value. Known for its good milling and baking qualities, hard red wheat is a cereal grain used to make breads, rolls and all-purpose flour. The research project was a success, and Nash's Organic Produce and other farmers on the peninsula now grow wheat that is sold to local bakeries for bread production.

"The missing link in expanding this line of production from local farmer to local baker is a mill to handle the increasing amount of grain grown on the peninsula," said Mike Doherty, council president. "Development of a grain mill in this area has the potential to generate positive economic impacts for farmers on the peninsula."

According to Doherty, this new project will examine the viability of starting a grain mill business venture on the peninsula.

"After key questions have been explored in the feasibility study and if there is clear analysis that shows the elements needed to make a local grain mill viable, the next phase of the project will develop the results into a full scale business plan for project implementation."

Project partners include Enterprise Cascadia, ISE Consultants, Clallam Economic Development Council, WSU Extension in Clallam and Jefferson counties, Northwest Cooperative Business Center, and numerous farmers and local businesses.

The council also is working with peninsula farmers to explore local meat-processing options, to increase local farm-to-school programs and to strengthen local farmers markets.

For more information, call 452-8994 ex. 105.

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