It’s Not Easy Being Green

Earth Day

reduced consumption house graphic

Happy Earth Day! At Didion, we’re dedicated to sustainability – not just in sourcing but in every aspect of our business. We partner with local and national sustainability-focused organizations to further our environmental efforts – since 2008, our energy efficiency investments have reaped enough energy savings to power 4321 homes for an entire year!

FOE AwardLast week we proudly accepted a 2016 Excellence in Energy Award from Focus on Energy for our commitment to energy efficiency practices. A program through the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, Focus on Energy works with Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost-effective renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. To learn more about our projects with Focus on Energy, check out this great article!

In Wisconsin, Didion is also part of the WI Sustainable Business Council’s Green Masters Program, achieving our Green Masters Designation for the third year in a row. The objective of this program is to provide companies with a benchmark for themselves and the ability to compare their sustainability performance to other companies in their sector.

Sustainability ObjectiveOn a national level, Didion is a member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Plants Program – in December 2009 we signed a pledge to reduce our energy consumption by 25% over the course of 10 years. We’re definitely on our way with a 13.3% reduction over the last 6 years!

As Didion grows and evolves, so does our dedication to sustainability. Our commitment to conservation means we will continue to look for ways to reduce our impact on the environment and preserve the land for future generations.

By: Tonya Umbarger, Program Manager at Didion Milling

Corn for a Cause

Child

May 28th was World Hunger Day, bringing awareness to the 805 million people worldwide that go to bed hungry every night.

For the last 20 years Didion Milling has been producing famine relief products for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This organization provides emergency food assistance and has several programs in place that help monitor food insecurity throughout the world, save lives in times of crisis, and tackle malnutrition. In fact, about 3 billion people from over 150 countries around the world have benefited from USAID’s food assistance programs!

Did you know that corn is an important ingredient in famine relief products? We produce a total of 6 different products, but our most common ones are Corn Soy Blend Plus and Super Cereal Plus. So far, these products are being delivered to parts of Southeast and West Africa, Central America, and parts of Asia.

Corn Soy Blend Plus: CSB Plus is a highly nutritious, wholesome blended food. This a precooked blend of cornmeal and soy flour enriched with a full complement of vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent choice for famine relief! This product is a finer granulation than our Corn Soy Blend and is usually used for children under two, lactating mothers or at risk AIDS patients.

Super Cereal Plus: Super Cereal Plus is another nutrient-dense corn and soy product. However this products differs form Corn Soy Blend Plus in its ingredients – this meal is made up of heat-treated corn or cornmeal, de-hulled soybeans, nonfat dry milk, refined soybean oil, and plenty of vitamins and minerals. Super Cereal Plus is also designed to be ready-to-use and intended for young children under 2 years old as a complement to breastfeeding.

Chronic hunger affects more people every year than malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS combined. Food assistance is one of the ways that we can start to lessen this problem.

To learn more about our partners on the frontline of the hunger fight, visit the following websites:

By: David Silver, Corporate Controller & USDA Program Coordinator

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

The Customer Service Experience

As Didion’s customer service manager, my personal goal is to make every one of our customers feel like number one. Whether they purchase one pallet of HarvestGold® corn products every three months or three loads of product in one day, each customer is important to me and Brenda Link, our customer service specialist.

The customer service team of Karyn (left) and Brenda (right)

The customer service team: Karyn (left) and Brenda (right)

I’ve been at Didion for seven years and every day is different – a phone call or email can change the flow of the entire day.

Generally, we start off every morning on a call with the sales and marketing team, followed by a production meeting with employees from maintenance, mill, quality assurance, pack, engineering and company president Dow Didion.

We’re also constantly monitoring and acknowledging orders for products, using our updated system Orders@DidionMilling.com. As the number and volume of orders increased, we updated our email system so that all orders were compiled into one place. However it still has that personal touch – our commitment to our customers is that Brenda or I will personally acknowledge every order.

Our main focus every day is our customers’ needs. We want our customers to come to us for anything they need – even if we don’t know the answer right away, we’ll do everything in our power to find out for them.

We’re proud that customer service is one of the things that set us apart. Great people, excellent products and exceptional service – that’s the Didion Difference.

By: Karyn Hickman, Customer Service Manger at Didion Milling

A Tribute to Dads Who Make a Difference

Father’s Day is a time to recognize and celebrate our dads and other male leaders in our families. A family-owned business provides the opportunity to recognize and celebrate these family role models in our lives every day.

John & Dow Didion

Brothers Dow and John Didion

More than 40 years ago my dad and my uncle started Didion Milling. The company today looks completely different than the company they started in the early 1970s. From grain elevators and corn milling to biofuels and beyond the company has gone through significant growth and changes. They have seen good times and challenging times, 8 different presidents and administrations and 4 major recessions.

Through all of the change that has taken place in the company and the country, the founding core values of John and Dow have remained steadfast. From the beginning they were never satisfied with status quo, continuously improving the process and the way industry could view grain merchandising. They were the first to load rail and barge in the state of Wisconsin and assisted in creating an export market for Wisconsin farmers. That same passion has continued today through the combination of our mill and biofuels plant. Their passion for the industry, the farmers and the team at Didion has been a constant and contagious presence that has allowed for a company in South Central Wisconsin to impact lives throughout the world.

As a son and nephew, an employee and a team member, I am most proud of their integrity in how they have led the company.  Life and business will continually present opportunities and challenges and it is the way that we respond to those challenges that matters most. Having the integrity to do the right thing can be difficult, but it’s essential for creating an atmosphere of trust, respect and growth.

To my dad, uncle and all of the other men out there who make are making a difference, Happy Fathers Day!!

By: Riley DidionSales Manager at Didion Milling