Milling & Baking News - June 5, 2018 - 22

Signature Interview


company acquired Purity Foods, a Hud- fertilizers distributed nationwide," he
son, Mich., ancient grains supplier, spe- said. "We have 11 retail farm centers -
mostly at our grain facilities here in the
cializing in spelt.
"It's our first foray into milling," Mr. eastern Corn Belt. Our wholesale assets
are really strong like our grain assets. We
Bowe said.
Mr. Bowe spent the majority of his have key regional distribution points for
career in the corn wet milling industry. NPK and other fertilizer products. FertilHe had exposure to flour milling while izer has been a really good business for
working as a corporate vice-president for us for many years and we anticipate a
Cargill's food ingredients platform. In strong recovery."
Also subject to cycles and volatility
that role, he oversaw part of a vast global
portfolio of food ingredient businesses, is the ethanol business, which The Anfrom corn and flour milling to vegetable dersons also continues to view with optimism. The company has ownership
oils to cocoa and chocolate.
Mr. Bowe was the point person for interests in four ethanol limited liability
Cargill as the company negotiated the creation of the joint
'The return of volatility in the
venture between Cargill, CHS
and ConAgra Foods, Inc.
ag commodity markets creates
(now Conagra Brands) that
opportunities for The Andersons
became Ardent Mills L.L.C.
and the industry as a whole.'
He served on the Ardent
Mills board of directors and
- Patrick E. Bowe,
was chairman before leaving
The Andersons
for The Andersons.
"Specialty mills are very
different in size and scope from tradi- companies with plants in Iowa, Indiana,
tional wheat and corn milling as you are Michigan and Ohio. In each of the commaking small batch volumes, but still you pany's L.L.C. agreements, The Andersons
have all the good manufacturing process runs day-to-day operations of the plants
requirements," he said. "In the end, it's and handles administrative functions.
In early March, the company said it
about giving the customer choice, someis partnering with ICM, Inc. to establish
one they can rely on.
"Our food corn business is made up of Element, L.L.C., a joint venture that will
contract growing, sorting and cleaning. build and operate an ethanol production
From a solid base, we think there's po- facility featuring ICM's equipment and
tential for us on the specialty side. What process technologies. Element will build
we bring to the table is the farmer con- a 70-million-gallon-per-year bio-refinery
tract growing. This allows us to work at located in Colwich, Kas., adjacent to
the source of origin with farmers for the ICM's headquarters.
"ICM has been a technology provider
raw material."
Low farm net incomes have factored and partner for us for many years," Mr.
importantly in the difficulties faced by Bowe said. "They have been involved in
the building of all of our plants, and they
The Andersons' Plant Nutrient Group.
"We are a wholesale distributor pri- built almost half the plants in the United
marily, mostly in the eastern region, and States. So what makes this unique? This
we're also a manufacturer of specialty is not just another ethanol plant. This

The rail business of The Andersons was started by the company in the 1990s.
22 / June 5, 2018

Milling & Baking News

will be the greenest and one of the most
unique plants because we'll have a front
end that will burn waste wood and use
other advanced technology. We will have
a very low carbon score as an energy
footprint in the plant. We will be using
all the latest technologies developed by
ICM, including cellulosic technology
that uses the corn fiber from the dry mill
process and converts the residual starch
to ethanol. We will have additional advanced technologies when it comes to
feed and co-products.
"This plant will specifically target the
California market. We will ship from
Kansas via unit trains to
California qualifying for the
state's low carb standard."
Asked why The Andersons is in the rail business,
its fourth segment, Mr. Bowe
said the business emerged
from the company repairing
its own leased railcars with a
fabrication shop in Maumee.
"The rail business was
started in the 1990s by Rasesh Shah, who
built it up to a top 10 U.S. railcar leasing
company with more than 23,000 cars,"
Mr. Bowe said. "We also operate 23 rail
shops scattered around the U.S. where we
do repairs. We are uniquely positioned in
this business because we have a strong
insight into the ag industry, so a lot of our
fleet is grain, ethanol and fertilizer cars."
The segment operates differently than
grain, commodity or milling businesses
and more like a banking or financial company, Mr. Bowe said.
"This business is more driven by
G.D.P., so when the economy is strong
and all these goods are needed and rail
traffic gets busy, that's when utilization
rates get higher," Mr. Bowe said.
Because of the range of its businesses,
The Andersons has a wide span of customers, including farmers, grain handlers
and millers. By moving deeper into food
grains, The Andersons is growing its
presence with food customers.
"The return of volatility in the ag
commodity markets creates opportunities for The Andersons and the industry as a whole," Mr. Bowe said. "Some
conditions like weather, total farm income and fuel prices are outside of our
control. What we can control though is
the productivity and efficiency at our
facilities along with the training and
customer service our salespeople and
merchants provide. So, while the company has a strong legacy and stability
over the years, the recent changes we
have put in place will position us well
for the future."MBN
- L. Joshua Sosland /

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