Newspaper Archive of
Cheney Free Press
Cheney , Washington
August 5, 1982     Cheney Free Press
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August 5, 1982

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Page 6 CheneyFreePress Thursday, August 5, 1982 Cheney Flour Mill undergoes changes 4 = Front office Pulling cars Unloading Working in the Nabisco Office on First Street is Office Manager Dick Gtz, who has spent the last six years of his 31-year career with Nabisco at the Cheney Mill. From left are office clerks Patty Lon and Sue McLain. Pulling a railroad car into the Nabisco unloading shed is Bob Loomer. By Tom Thrun Wheat. Another record harvest is about to be recorded in the Inland Empire and the nation as a whole. Farmers are busy overhauling trucks and combines, while on a larger scale the Nabisco Flour Mill in downtown Cheney is in the middle of a modernization process that will see an increased output of wheat flour and new "specialty" products. Historically, the first flour mill in the Cheney area was put up south of town at Chapman Lake during the 1880's. Ole Dibdall still resides on the homestead, operating a fishing resort and hatchery. The old water-power mill stands empty on the creek flowing out of the lake. The first flour mill in Cheney was begun in the 1890s by the Cumm- ings Brothers. According to Mrs. A.B. Cutting, writing for the Cheney Historical Museum in 1977, area wheat farmer Frank M. Martin would build a more modern mill in 1918, powered by electricity from the Washington Water Power Company. His son, Clarence D. Martin, eventually took over the business until it was sold to the National Biscuit Company on June 3, 1943. Meanwhile, Martin also was elected governor in 1931, serving two terms. Later, he re- turned to .make Cheney his home, serving in many civic activities. National Biscuit Company, later to become Nabisco, was estab- lished Feb. 3, 1898 in Jersey City, N.J. The company was formed by a large number of small, regional bakeries at a time when crackers and cookies mostly were sold only in areas close to the bakeries. Shortly afterwards, the company began a search for a better pro- duct--an item that could be protected in a patented, sanitary carton and which could be of a uniform high quality and sold under a single brand name. That item, the UNEEDA Biscuit, came out in 1899. It was one of the first nationally-advertised, nationally- distributed products. The Cheney Flour Mill has recorded many important techni- Epperson. Epperson said Nabisco also works closely with area farmers though the Cheney Grain Growers, Inc., which also operates elevators for grain storage in downtown Cheney and at Rodna. Grain Growers Manager Gordon Young insures that any grain sold to Nabisco by the farmers through the association is quality grain. Last year, some 300,000 bushels of wheat were sold through the Cheney Grain Growers to Nabisco, cal changes. Perhaps its last major Cheney mill in 24 hours. change was in 1957--some 25 years Nabisco, too, has been making ago--when the facility converted local improvements at the Cheney from handling flour sacks in box mill. There have been--all within with perhaps another 100,000 bushels being sold directly from individual farm storage bins. The Cheney Grain Growers have capacity to store over one million bushels of grain. However, with reserves of old grain still in stor- age, Young said the association probably will have to temporarily store grain in an open, out-door pile-like two years ago when a similar record harvest was re- corded. Wheat coming into the Cheney Flour Mill, according to Epperson, comes by rail and truck from throughout Eastern Washington and Western Montana. That which comes by rail is picked up from storage elevators along Burlirigton Northern branch lines. Nabisco recorded another historical moment this summer. In June, the mill received its first "unit train", consisting of 26 cars of wheat. Burlington Northern is currently promoting its unit trains, which have proven themselves as being more economical in the areas of coal and timber, as well as with grain. Epperson noted that the 26-car train was unloaded at the cars to a new bulk-loading system. Today, except for handling an occasional order of bagged feed- by product, the mill bulk-loads all of its flour into trucks and rail- road cars. Mill Manager Bill Epperson, who came to Cheney from the New Jersey headquarters in 1980, is quick to note that cooperation between Nabisco and the Burling- ton Northern Railroad plays an important part in the transporta- tion of raw and processed wheat throughout the Pacific Northwest. Currently, Nabisco has a line of 67 "pneumatic" rail bulk cars which it leases or is assigned. Quality and sanitation are among some of Nabisco's major concerns, and having exclusive use of rail cars helps insure a quality product, said the past two years--a new paint job, the installation of a new "drag" conveyor atop the storage tanks, an addition to the railroad loading shed and many internal changes not visable to those passing by. (Cont. on page 7) Charlie Weber throws the bar opening the railroad car's wheat hopper. The wheat falls through an iron grill on the floor before being conveyed into the facility. i.i, Teamwork "Team effort" is used in producing a quality product at the Nabisco FloUr Discussing operations, around the table from left, are trainee Brad visor Gary Joyce, Manager Bill Epperson, Lab Manager Frank Nataf and Dick Goetz. Core samples are load of wheat that ney Nabisco Mill, as left by Charlie Weber Above, Weber empties into a test sack. ee||H||mu|||||||n|u||u|imm|||U|||U|||||H|mi||H|m| | | ||nHH p Receiving grain Dixie Heyer is in charge of elevator at the Cheney mill, wei into the facility both by rail and truck prepares to dump a load of iron bar gr,d On the floor. Du||gmnm |meeeee|e||nNmmUnB ||De ui|n|||g |nn||||||ee| ee | | u | | n |p