Kids Get the Skinny on Whole Grains

2007 Annual Report for FNC06-607

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2006: $18,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: North Central
State: North Dakota
Project Coordinator:

Kids Get the Skinny on Whole Grains


We became Pride of Dakota members in May 2006. The company completed a certified kitchen to mill and bag product in June.

We catered and hosted a regional meeting for Region V, North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension agents in April 2007 featuring whole white wheat buns and chocolate cake. Owners discussed the farming and company development featuring hard white spring wheat.

Dakota Family Mill tested a bread machine mix, a chocolate chip cookie recipe, and a pizza dough recipe with Bonnie Jacobson at North Dakota State Cereal Technology Department in July of 2007. The recipes were baked, perfected, and converted to weight. Milling and bagging 5 lb. bags of flour for promotion began in July. Our website was up and running in October however, we are still working on improving it.

In late July 2007, Dakota Family Mill signed the contract for product development with University of Nebraska. Currently, Nebraska is working on nutrition labeling and package recommendations for our recipe mixes. We have a graphic artist redesigning our label for the recipe mixes.

We attended the River Art Festival in Moorhead, MN during August 2007 and Potato Days in Barnesville, MN in October.

We plan to begin marketing the recipe mixes once the UPC codes are in and expand a larger distribution of product. We are limited by our supply of white hard wheat and cannot take large clients. We are going to work through distributorship in small towns until we have a larger supply and a better understanding of the business.

The outreach required in the grant is over 50% completed. We have expended grant funds for curriculum materials, ingredient costs, promotional material, and travel. The design of the educational trunk will require most of the curriculum and trunk costs. Dakota Family Mill has provided 500 lbs. to date in product for the outreach and a member of the company has worked each session with the program.

Our school program “Kids Get The Skinny on Whole Grains” has met with much success. Colleen Svingen and Deb Evenson have been to each public school in Richland County. They have programmed in each sixth grade classroom in Richland County (five rural schools and Wahpeton) with “Bread in a Bag” reaching 190 students, and also at each afterschool program in seven elementary schools reaching 130 students with “Pretzel in a Bag”. Programming has also occurred for 35 4-H students at various age levels. Currently, they are preparing to do the next round of school programming before the end of the school year. The whole grain trunk for extension will be completed this summer.

“Your Body Kneads Whole Grains” community outreach whole grain program has also met with much interest. The six towns have had an attendance of 147 participants in seven program opportunities.

Dakota Family Mill began distributing 5 lb. flour and cracked wheat to Econofoods in Wahpeton and The General store in Abercrombie and Colfax, ND. UPC codes were purchased to begin sales. We were part of a two-day sale promotion at Econofoods and sold out the shelf stock three times during that promotion. We are working with the Econofoods bakery to help them produce buns and bread for sale from their bakery. We have developed shelf talkers and purchased a display stand for the store display.

We have learned many aspects of the flour business. With an interest in this type of business, we have examined competitors’ products and pricing and used that information to build our line. It was a challenge to find equipment and resources locally that meet our needs. Most companies want huge quantities of product to work with thus either our company did not have that much product or it would be too expensive at this time.

It has been a learning experience to work with our local grocer. They were very open to offering our product on the shelf and have started providing baked white wheat products from their bakery. We were part of the baking mix refinements for their batches and were asked to evaluate their products. They have been very helpful and will enable us to better meet the needs of future customers.

We have learned people are ready and willing to learn about and embrace the idea of eating more whole grains. We stress that White Wheat Whole Grain Flour can be used in ordinary recipes by substituting up to 1/3 of the regular flour. We teach that whole grains can be implemented in recipes and food for every meal of the day--pancakes and waffles for breakfast, buns and bread for lunch, cookies for snack, pizza for supper, etc. We all have learned so much about the benefits of whole grain and the importance in our diet for overall good health. Colleen Svingen, Extension Agent, has many teaching posters to help people visualize what we are teaching. We have many positive comments about our classes.

The company has scheduled the testing of three more recipes with NDSU. The bread machine recipe needs redoing, a brownie mix, and a pancake mix. Distribution of the flour will be expanded to the smaller towns in the three-county area. Cookie and pizza crust recipe mixes will be distributed starting in May 2008. The owners are planning another planting of 80 acres of white wheat in 2008. This is double the acreage planted in 2006.

In 2008, we would like to become more experienced at sales strategy, marketing, and develop a larger market area. The company will find a co-packer that will do smaller runs of product so that we can stay within product handling and financial capabilities of the owners. An APUC grant is also being considered for marketing assistance. We are planning to step up and add an advertising campaign and feel we are on the brink of developing a much larger market area. We are doing a live remote with KFGO radio in Fargo, ND from our kitchen site on March 20 (National Ag Day).

In 2008, the company plans to develop a 2009-10 market for product so that 2009 planting intentions can be increased again.

We have featured the flour and company development at a North Dakota regional and state extension conference. The Family Consumer Science and Agricultural agents have completed four radio spots on the project and 12 community lessons in schools and adult programming. The afterschool program director has featured the student program in the Richland County Afterschool Program’s quarterly newsletter.

The wholegrain classes were featured on the front page of the Wahpeton Daily News in January. On February 18, 2008, the company owners met with an Associated Press agent to feature our company development in a future publication. The story was released on February 24 in the Fargo Forum and other major newspapers. It went AP after that. We have received orders from as far away as Florida and many other email inquiries and orders.

We do explain and discuss the SARE grant with all communication venues or individuals. The company will increase publicity as more substantial accomplishments are made. We feel this will reinforce the value of SARE’s contribution.