Grain Millers, Inc. Facility Expansion - St. Ansgar, IA

Multi-phased, multi-building oat milling facility

Grain Millers is the world’s largest organic oat processor and North America’s second largest oat processor. The manufacturer’s organic, whole grain ingredients used in cereals, breads, bars and many other products include oats, wheat, barley and rye. Grain Millers ingredients are in products made by recognizable food manufactures, including Sara Lee, Gerber, Kellogg’s, Post, General Mills, Barilla, Nature’s Path, Malt-O-Meal, Cliff Bar, Cascadian Farm, Kashi, Nabisco, Subway and Hormel.

To support the client’s strategic business plan as an industry leader among food manufacturing companies, VAA’s master planning phased approach aligned with marketplace expectations. The oat milling facility in northern Iowa required knowledge of food safety, site security, life safety code compliance, warehousing, material management, employee welfare and finished product shipping. An integrated planning approach included the client’s executive team, plant staff, employees and the project’s general contractor.

Our Approach

VAA designed multi-year expansion plans that began with ground work and underground utilities and continued with seamless, phased construction of an office, warehouse and support buildings.

In addition to master planning, civil, structural, mechanical engineering, and industrial architecture services, VAA added a level of engineering knowledge that reduced planning time and supported an efficient construction process.

On-site blending and retail packaging facilities would provide a retail-ready product for distribution directly to store shelves. Having these services on-site translates into direct benefits in improved product quality, lower shipping costs and lower packaging costs. VAA coordinated efforts to keep the facility open and operational throughout all construction phases, including coordination with two different electrical service companies.

Through collaboration with Grain Millers, the E/A team, contractor and vendors, the project incorporated many elements of sustainability and was consistent in design with the Grain Millers brand.


The St. Ansgar facility is the hub of Grain Millers’ Midwest operations. Fulfilling the client’s vision for the facility and business goals, VAA continues to be a strategic partner to Grain Millers.