Three months after Kansas State University implemented limited operations and moved to remote instruction, the Department of Grain Science and Industry has brought the Hal Ross Flour Mill back online to manufacture flour for those in need in the local community.

As stay-at-home orders began, the university’s faculty noticed the absence of flour at local supermarkets. They wondered if the university’s milling facilities could be used to aid the local community. This idea received unanimous support from college and university leadership and moved into the planning stages several weeks ago.

“We know people are struggling with basic food supplies, including flour. It’s something K-State and the department could do,” said Gordon Smith, professor and head of the grain science and industry department, in a university press release. “We have a mill, we have highly skilled faculty to run the mill, and continued support from the Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas wheat farmers. It is a locally sourced, farm-to-table, philanthropic endeavor by K-State.”

Recently, 20,000 pounds of wheat were milled by departmental faculty with help from Richard Myers, president of Kansas State University. Ten hours of milling yielded 15,000 pounds of all-purpose white flour. The remaining parts of the wheat berry not used in the flour will be used for animal feed.

The university will host a drive-thru flour distribution from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on June 18 at the Hal Ross Flour Mill. There is no charge for the flour, which will be limited to one 10-pound bag per vehicle and is not for resale. The university plans to donate any flour not distributed on June 18 to the Flint Hills Breadbasket in Manhattan and Harvesters in Topeka.

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