(Hamburg) -- Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg made a sweep through KMAland yesterday afternoon.
As part of his and Governor Kim Reynolds' annual 99-county tour, Gregg paid a visit to the Manildra Milling Corporation location in Hamburg before sending off a group of veterans on an honor flight in Council Bluffs. During the visit to Hamburg, Gregg tells KMA News he received an overview of the operation, which highlights "value-added" agriculture with further processing wheat and flour into other food ingredients. For example, he says one product could eliminate the need for a heat source when making pudding.
"To get it to sit up and have that pudding consistency rather than a liquid consistency, it usually takes heat in that cooking process, but with the ingredients they develop there, it does not require heat to get pudding ingredients to have that consistency," said Gregg. "So if you think about a company that's making pudding products on a commercial scale, if they don't need to add a heat element to that, that's a pretty big deal and that becomes a very valuable ingredient."
While value-added agriculture in Iowa is typically associated with processing corn or soybeans, Gregg says the wheat and flour-based operation at Manildra provides a unique opportunity to bring products from surrounding states and provide Iowans jobs.
"We don't grow a lot of wheat here, so a lot of the wheat that they process at Manildra comes from other places including Canada and some of the, what you might consider, plains states," said Gregg. "But the fact that that gets brought here and they have jobs that are dedicated to further refining the flour that's made from that wheat -- what it means is opportunity for Iowans to be able to have manufacturing jobs here in our state."
Gregg adds the plant's outputs also contribute to higher protein bread and other high-protein gluten products.
Hamburg was also one of several communities in western Iowa hit dramatically by the flooding of the Missouri River in 2019. Gregg says Manildra was not immune to the extreme flooding.
"On their campus there, their office structure they said was under about 10 feet of water and many parts of the plant were under four feet of water," Gregg explained. "So, obviously that was a huge impact to their business, and they were not producing for about nine months as they cleaned out and got the plant back to food-grade approvals and all those things from regulators."
However, recent developments with a nearby levee, Gregg says, have prompted further investments from the global company in Fremont County -- an indicator, he says, of a positive direction in the community.
"As a matter of fact, now that they've completed the levee nearby, they felt confident enough to go ahead and renovate those offices that they had not put any investment in since the floods, so that's in process right now," he said. "They even talked about some other expansions on the site. So, with the certainty that comes with that new and improved levee near Hamburg, we're starting to see new investments, and that's a great thing."
Gregg also spoke with a group of military veterans and their families, including those from World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars, and Desert Storm, among others, before they embarked on an honor flight to Washington, D.C., to visit the various war memorials in the nation's capital.