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What They Do

Insider Info

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 process.

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 it.

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 problems.

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 in stock.

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 of flour.

"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 you."

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, crackers, pizza."

At a Glance

Run the mill's machines

  • Millers sometimes must fix small mechanical problems
  • Be careful -- there is the danger of a grain explosion
  • Most of this training is done on the job


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OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.