BENTON -- SEMO Milling has just completed its first production run at the SEMO Port
A public meeting to close out the $467,980 block grant from the Missouri Department of Economic Development was held Tuesday during the regular Scott County Commission meeting.
The grant funded public infrastructure improvements as an incentive for the mill to locate at the SEMO Port, according to Dan Overbey, executive director of the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority.
"We used it to pave the streets out to the corn mill and to build a railroad track," Overbey said. "Those are public improvements the port owns."
SEMO Milling is a dry corn mill and custom bagging and logistics facility. Among its products are degermed yellow No. 4 flaking grits, degermed yellow brewer grits, degermed yellow corn grits, degermed yellow corn cones, degermed yellow corn meal, degermed yellow enriched corn meal, soy-
fortified yellow corn meal, degermed yellow corn flour, corn soy blend and corn binder.
"They're selling to several major food companies in the region," Overbey said. "They just began production but they're still doing more construction work on the building."
The mill's owners also committed to creating a number of jobs as part of the terms of the grant.
"They've got right now 26 employees on staff," said Bev Miller, manager of finance for the SEMO Port. "They're running one shift. They're planning to add another shift in July which will bring on seven additional employees. The company is also on track for a third shift starting in October which will add 10 more jobs."
The grant, which was routed through Scott County, was administered by the Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission at Dexter.
"The grant is complete," confirmed Steve Duke, executive director of the BRPC. He said the BRPC will still need to document job creation until June, however.
Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger commented on the importance of bringing businesses to Scott County. In addition to creating jobs at the mill, there will be "spin off" benefits to other businesses in the area such as suppliers, producers, and trucking/transportation businesses, he said.
Burger said, for example, that there is a company in Perryville that had been bringing in its corn meal from Iowa. "Now it's happening from Scott City, Scott County," he said. In addition to saving transportation costs and patronizing the local mill, the company is also now using corn bought from local producers, Burger noted.
Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn said the BRPC and SEMO Port Authority both worked hard to bring the mill here. "This is a good day for us," he said.
"The corn mill itself is at least a $15 million investment," Overbey noted.
"Scott County is pro-industry; we're pro-agriculture. Any time we can get an industry into the county that meets all the state's rules and regulations, we welcome them into Scott County," Burger said. "When we have something like this come to fruition it's great for us."
In other business during Tuesday's meeting commissioners said they will be touring an ethanol plant in Malta Bend today.