Feeding & Fueling the World Together

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Zoey Brooks, Wisconsin’s 67th Alice in Dairyland, visited Didion Milling and Ethanol on Tuesday morning to learn about how locally-grown corn is processed into food, feed and fuel products that are used in our local communities, across the country and around the world.

As Wisconsin’s agriculture ambassador, Alice in Dairyland strives to educate audiences across Wisconsin about the $59 billion economic impact and importance of our state’s diverse agriculture industry in our daily lives. Corn, as Wisconsin’s second largest agricultural commodity by cash receipts, is an important part of Alice in Dairyland’s story.

Zoey took a stroll down fermentation alley in the ethanol plant, inspected samples in Didion’s labs and explored various granulations of milled corn. While touring our facilities, she learned how corn is fractionated in our dry corn mill, then sorted for its best use in food and fuel production. For more information about how we maximize the kernel of corn in our two facilities, check out the Corn Milling 101 series on our blog.

During her year as Alice in Dairyland, Zoey drives a flex-fuel vehicle wrapped in graphics promoting ethanol production. Here are some of facts she shares about ethanol as she fuels up with E85 during her travels around the state:

  1. Provides a lot of jobs. A study done by ABF Economics found that the 13.3 billion gallons of ethanol produced in 2013 created 86,503 jobs and supported an additional 300,277 indirect and induced jobs.
  2. Lower cost of fuel for everyone. A report from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Iowa State University found that ethanol supplying about 10 percent of our fuel has reduced the price at the pump by more than $1.00 per gallon.
  3. More than fuel. One bushel of corn (56 lbs.) can produce 2.8 gallons of ethanol and 17-18 pounds of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS). These are an important co-product of ethanol production and a common livestock feed.
  4. Improves the air quality of motor emissions. A study from the University of Nebraska found that ethanol reduces emissions by almost 60 percent.
  5. Decreases U.S. dependence on imported petroleum. Since 2008 net petroleum imports have fallen by one third and are continuing to decrease to the lowest level in 20 years.

Click here to learn more about Alice in Dairyland.

By: Adam Lemmenes, Plant Manager at Didion Ethanol

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We Believe in the Future of Agriculture

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Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.

The National FFA Organization’s mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

This week marks the 66th annual FFA Week – an opportunity for FFA members, alumni and supporters to promote agricultural education and FFA itself. It’s a chance to share what being a part of FFA really means and the impact it has on members each and every day.

As an agribusiness, Didion appreciates the people that FFA helped build. In fact – they can be found in nearly every area of the company. A few of Didion’s FFA alumni shared their thoughts about how the organization has impacted them:

“I learned so many important things in FFA, including leadership and public speaking.”
– John Deininger, Quality Assurance Manager

“FFA helped me lay the groundwork for my career. It’s so rewarding to help develop the next generation of agriculturalists by supporting local chapters.”
– Brenda Oft, Grain Merchandiser

“FFA was a great way to get involved in the community when I was in high school. I’m still friends with people that I met through the organization.”
– Ann Strelow, Scale Operator

“Through classes, Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) and contest teams FFA introduced me to a variety of careers in agriculture.”
– Garry Gard, Grain Manager

“My involvement in FFA helped shape my personal and professional development. The skills I developed as an FFA member are still helping shape my future as an agri-marketing professional.”
– Katie Dogs, Public Relations Manager

“FFA fostered our interest in agriculture and helped us develop professional skills necessary for owning and running an agribusiness.” “Not only did FFA give us the tools to help make Didion a success, it also allowed us to hire great people.”
– John & Dow Didion, CEO & President

Didion is proud to support several local FFA chapters through sponsorships, scholarships and donations.

By: Garry Gard, Grain Manager at Didion Milling

Nine Groups We’re Thankful for at Didion Milling

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Thanksgiving week is a time to express our thanks to those who have helped us grow and have made a difference in our lives.  This year we’d like to show special appreciation for nine groups of people who have made special efforts to help us get to where we are today.

9. National/Wisconsin Corn Growers Association

Our corn growers associations do a great job educating the public about the good things corn farmers do to produce the safest, healthiest, most efficient, abundant and sustainable corn crop in the world. We appreciate their support for food and fuel production with corn.

8. Renewable Fuels Association

We’re thankful for RFA as the authoritative voice for the ethanol industry. The organization’s continued efforts to expand markets for ethanol and promote friendly policies, programs and initiatives help us to continue growing our business.  Their work to improve public awareness about the benefits of renewable fuels is vital to our industry.

7. North American Millers’ Association 

NAMA enables its members to grow and prosper through education, advocacy, regulation, legislation, trade, supply and consumption. We are grateful for their efforts on behalf of the milling industry to promote the utilization and consumption of dry milled, grain-based products.

6. The local community

We appreciate the opportunity to do business in a rural community.  It has been a pleasure to get to know the people in the community and we’re happy to support them through our corporate programs and the Old Mill Foundation.

5. Strategic vender partners

We’re thankful for our vendor partners and their efforts to help us in our mission of constant improvement.  It has been a pleasure growing our businesses together.  We’re excited to see what the future brings working together!

4. Our producer partners

Local farmers have been at the core of our business since we opened our doors more than 40 years ago. We are proud to work with some of the most efficient and sustainable farmers in the world.  You inspire us to maximize the value of every kernel we process in our facilities and keep the value add in our communities. Click here to view our producer thank you video.

3. Our customers

We have the great pleasure to work with wonderful friends, our customers. It has been a joy to serve you and grow with you.  We are excited to see what new opportunities we can discover together in 2014!

2. Our families

Our staff families are a big part of our organization.  We sincerely appreciate your care and support as we work to achieve our goals. Thank you to all of the families that make up our Didion family – we couldn’t do it without you.

1. Our great people

Finally, we’re thankful for the great people we work with at Didion. Our employees are the heartbeat of the organization as we develop great people and make quality products from grain. We are thankful to employ people with shared core values. Thank you for your role in helping us feed and fuel the world.

May you and all your friends and family have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

By John Didion, CEO of Didion Milling

Putting & Produce – Didion Gives Back to the Local Community

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Al Ogorzalek, New Berlin, Wis., hit a hole-in-one on the Ballweg Implement-sponsored hole 10 to win a John Deere XUV550 S4 Gator. Al is pictured with his wife Mary Claire Lanser.

Didion Milling hosted the seventh annual Old Mill Foundation Golf Outing on July 26 at the Fox Lake Golf Club. A new record was set this year, raising more than $15,000 for the Old Mill Foundation. Brenda Oft, grain merchandiser at Didion Milling, organized the fundraiser. This year’s event saw its first hole-in-one contest winner, Al Ogorzalek of New Berlin, Wis. He hit a hole-in-one on the Ballweg Implement-sponsored hole 10 to win a John Deere XUV550 S4 Gator.

IMG_6898The Old Mill Foundation was founded in 2006 to give back to the community of Cambria through support of local nonprofit organizations that work to enhance the lives of the Village of Cambria, Township of Courtland and the Cambria-Friesland School District. Cambria Fire Department, Cambria-Friesland School, Cambria-Friesland Youth Football Team and the Cambria Pool Fun Committee are a few such organizations that have benefited from the Old Mill Foundation’s numerous donations and scholarships.

Didion Milling’s summer food drive had an overwhelming response, as employees donated 373 pounds of non-perishable food items for the Cambria Bread Basket to help fight local hunger. Didion Milling and Alsum Farms and Produce of Friesland, Wis. generously matched employee contributions by donating fresh produce. This resulted in more than 1,000 pounds of food to stock the local food pantry for families in need.

According to the University of Wisconsin-Extension, hunger affects 1 in 11 households in Wisconsin, or approximately 560,000 people. The food donated has fed people not just in the Cambria community, but other communities in the area such as Columbus and Beaver Dam.