The next time you eat cereal, bread or pasta, take a moment to think about
how it got from a grain field to your plate. Grain products are an important
part of a healthy diet. And we're able to enjoy them as a result of the milling
A flour miller is a person who operates the machines at a flour mill. During
the milling process, the grain and other byproducts are mixed, milled and
treated. The flour is then used to make many different food products.
Grain miller and operative miller are other titles for a flour miller.
Part of this job is to prepare the grain for milling. That involves cleaning
Millers start the milling machines. They must make sure that all machinery
is operating correctly. If it isn't, millers sometimes must fix small mechanical
Flour millers check the quality of the product as it is being milled. And
they make sure everything is bagged correctly. A miller keeps up with the
amount of raw material that is available for use and how much the mill has
David Ritchie is the general manager of a non-union flour mill in Colorado.
"There is always something to do and everyone who works in a mill does every
job. Even cleaning the toilets."
Millers are hired by large commercial flour mills. They are also hired
by small operating mills. Theodore Hazen is a milling expert in Virginia.
"Mainly, the mills are located in the Midwest, in the larger grain growing
centers of the United States and Canada," he says.
A flour mill is a noisy place to work. "Flour mills operate at 80 to 120
decibels. Therefore, sign language also comes in handy," says Ritchie.
A flour mill can also be a dangerous work environment. Millers must be
careful when working around machinery. Plus, there is the danger of a grain
explosion. "On average, one person per month is killed worldwide in grain
explosions or fires," says Ritchie.
A lot of mills run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That means shift
work is necessary for millers. "It's basically 7 to 3, 3 to 11, and 11 to
7," says Ritchie.
At the entry level, flour milling is a job that requires a strong back.
Ritchie says that in most cases, you'll be required to pick up 50-pound sacks
"Milling has huge social importance," says Guy Shoemaker. He's president
of a flour milling firm. "Flour is a basic food ingredient that is good for
By being involved in this industry, he feels like he's "helping provide
people with a staple food that goes into just about everything...bread, cookies,