June is National Dairy Month!

Although Didion deals mainly with corn, one of our byproducts supports the dairy industry- DDGS. DDGS, or dried distillers grains with solubles is a co-product of the ethanol process.  DDGS are typically a supplement for protein and energy in an animal’s diet.

RFA Illustration[4]How do we make DDGS?

Developing the DDGS starts with the development of ethanol. The ground corn is fermented and the yeast converts the corn starch into ethanol.  Ethanol is then removed and the remaining mash contains protein, fiber, oil & minerals. The mash then is combined with a syrup that was created through evaporating water during parts of the process. This mixture is called Wet Distillers Grains with Solubles or WDGS.  WDGS are then dried down to become Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles, or DDGS.

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What are DDGS used for?

DDGS are mainly used for livestock feed. They increase necessary nutrients for animal health, and can be a cost-effective way to supplement corn and soybean meal in a feed ration for many livestock producers.  DDGS are used on dairy farms as well as beef, swine and poultry markets.

IMG_8025DDGS at Didion Milling

DDGS are the co-product of our ethanol process. We have several producers that both supply Didion with corn and buy distillers.

So while you enjoy your milk, ice cream or cheese curds this June, keep in mind the corn products that help make these dairy products possible!

By: Justin Koopmans, Feed Sales Representative and Grain Merchandiser at Didion Milling

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Milling 101: Good Manufacturing Practices

Safety is a core value at Didion and we are committed to producing quality, safe products for our customers. An effective food safety system is a top priority, but how do we create a good basis for it? We do this by having certain rules and expectations in place that employees and visitors must follow whenever they are in our facility. These guidelines are known as Good Manufacturing Practices or GMP’s.

GMP’s are practices defined by the FDA that set guidelines for different manufacturing workplaces. For food manufacturers like Didion, these guidelines provide minimum requirements we must meet to ensure our products are safe and of high quality. These guidelines don’t necessarily tell a company how to manufacture, but rather list factors that need to be monitored during production.

Even though GMP’s are regulated by the FDA, they were established to be flexible so that each manufacturer can decide individually how to implement the best practices for them. This means that Didion can add to the list of already established GMP’s. In fact – the Didion list of GMPs includes 18 guidelines! Many of these rules regard aspects such as: proper attire, hair/facial hair restraint, food/drink consumption, sanitary issues etc.

GMP’s are a very important part of Didion’s safety culture because they are an integral part of a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) prerequisite program, which is necessary to build a complete food safety program. Having a good basis by practicing GMP’s allows Didion to become certified to the internationally recognized food safety standard of FSSC 22000, one more step in the food safety management program.

One of the reasons Didion has been able to achieve such high food safety ratings is because we have a knowledgeable food safety leader and team established to help enforce these guidelines. This team is cross-functional and monitors everything from corn procurement to shipping! Along with Didion employees following these guidelines, we also make sure that we check visitors at the mill and have them read and sign off on GMP’s.

Ultimately, it is Didion’s responsibility to practice good food safety so that we produce the safest and highest quality products for our customers. Having effective GMP’s in place helps us accomplish this important task!

By: John Deininger, Quality Assurance Manager at Didion Milling

Happy National Corn on the Cob Day!

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It’s grilling season – the perfect time to enjoy a delicious ear of corn on the cob. But did you know the corn you are eating is probably not the type of corn that you drive by every day? In fact, in the United States, there is about 394 times more field corn grown than there is sweet corn!

Field Cocorn-stalkrn

Field Corn, also known as dent corn, is the traditional corn that you see driving past cornfields. These are the very tall corn ears that you see harvested in the fall. Field corn is also referred to as dent corn because of the indent that each of the kernels get as the corn dries out. Dent corn is very dry and mainly used to make animal feed and ethanol, though it is also used for food processing. Some of the products that field corn can be made into include: corn meal, corn flour, whole grain corn flours, pregelatinized corn flours, corn grits, corn bran and yeast protein.

fresh-picked-corn[1]Sweet Corn

Sweet corn, on the other hand, is the type of corn that can be eaten off the cob. This type of corn is harvested much earlier in the growing season compared to field corn. Producers do this so the kernels stay moist and soft and good for eating! Not only is sweet corn much easier to eat, but it also has more natural sugar, which is why you can eat it right off the cob. Sweet corn is mainly used for human consumption – corn on the cob, canned corn and frozen corn; however in some cases it’s also used as silage – food for farm animals that is stored inside a silo.

So be sure to raise an ear in celebration of National Corn on the Cob Day tonight!

By: Brenda Oft, Grain Merchandiser at Didion Milling