Macon’s only flour mill is closing its doors after a century in operation

Ardent Mills is closing: A look back at some of our archive photos

The Ardent Mills plant at 211 Lower Poplar Street in Macon will close on June 30.
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The Ardent Mills plant at 211 Lower Poplar Street in Macon will close on June 30.

A Macon plant that opened more than 100 years ago will shut down operations this summer.

Ardent Mills announced Friday that its Macon flour-making plant will close June 30. There are 20 employees currently working at the Macon site, a company spokeswoman said.

The company also will close locations in Loudonville, Ohio, and Red Lion, Pennsylvania, and Rush City, Minnesota.

Ardent Mills, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, has 35 other flour mills, three bakery mix facilities and a specialty bakery in the U.S.

“These decisions are difficult, especially because of the impact on our valued team members,” Ardent Mills CEO Dan Dye said in the release. “Our growth plan calls for strategic investments in our unmatched network of community mills; these changes allow us to grow accordingly and better meet customer needs.”

Employees impacted by the four closures will be able to apply for other positions in the company and will have access to career counseling and transition support, a company spokeswoman wrote in an email.

The history of the Macon property dates back to 1913 when a group of investors that included Birdsey family members announced plans to open the city’s first flour mill at the foot of Poplar Street.

Modern Flour Mills would become a place where area farmers could bring their wheat, with the facility having the capacity to process 500 barrels each day, according to The Telegraph archives.

By the mid-1930’s, the milling company had become Birdsey Flour Mills and there were 58 Birdsey retail stores across Georgia.

The Macon plant remained Birdsey Flour and Feed Mills until 1968 when the company was acquired by Nebraska Consolidated Mills, which later became ConAgra.

There were approximately 75 employees in Macon in 1976. By 1984 the mill was processing 2.5 million bushels of grain, with about $5 million in wheat coming from Georgia farms.

Ardent was formed in 2013 with the merger of three flour-milling companies.

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