Archer-Daniels-Midland plant in downtown Red Wing

The Archer-Daniels-Midland plant in downtown Red Wing. 

The Archer-Daniels-Midland plant has a long history at the north east corner of downtown Red Wing. The facility next to the bridge was started in 1902 by a group of local businessmen. The plant produces linseed oil for a growing paint and varnish industry. 

Linseed oil is produced from flaxseed. Flaxseed was originally grown for its fibers, which are used to make linen. In the early 1800s the demand for flax to produce linen was on the decline, leading to a slow drop in planted acres. 

However, at the same time, the demand for linseed oil was increasing.

In the early 1900s, farms around Red Wing grew a considerable amount of flax. Local businessmen NK Simmons, John Diefenbach and Carl Melander secured capital to build a flax crushing facility and in 1902, the plant began operations under the name “Zumbro Linseed Company.”

The plant has gone through a few name changes and owners since then, but has continued processing flaxseed since its beginnings. 

Most of the changes made in the 120 years of business were to expand operations and install the latest technologies in oilseed processing in order to increase capacity, improve the quality of the finished products and increase efficiencies in operations and transportation.

The facility was purchased by ADM in 1971.

ADM was also founded in 1902. The company started as a flaxseed processor with a facility in Minneapolis, which has since been closed.

Today, ADM is one of the leading agricultural processing companies in the world with over 38,000 employees globally. As the market has changed over the past 120 years, the Red Wing facility is the last flaxseed processing plant operated by ADM. Products are shipped globally out of this location. 

The facility utilizes trucks, rail cars and barges to bring seed into the plant and to ship out finished products.

The Red Wing team places a high degree of focus on employee training and development to give people the tools they need to succeed and encourages continued growth. As a global company, ADM has numerous opportunities for employees to grow into new roles in every aspect of its business and offers great opportunities for advancement locally and globally.

Flaxseed today is primarily grown in North Dakota, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta but is seeing a renewed planting interest. The flaxseed oil has the highest omega 3 fatty acid content available in a non-animal based product.  

The seed is about 38% oil by weight, and as the seed is processed, the oil is removed from the seed. Flaxseed oil, also known as linseed oil, was historically used as an industrial oil. It is a very light weight oil and dries quickly, which makes it an ideal base for oil-based paints, varnishes and other coatings. It is also used to make high quality flexible plastics, inks, dyes, time release coatings and a variety of other products. In addition to industrial applications, the oil is used as a supplement in animal foods and is also available for human consumption.

After removing the oil, what is left of the seed is known as “meal.”  Linseed meal is generally sold into the animal feed market as a good source of plant-based protein.

While the history of flaxseed processing is very old, the Red Wing team has recently entered the online sales space and is selling the product directly to consumers through Amazon.com and soon Walmart.com.  

Search “Linsheen” for their two industrial products and “Knwble Grwn” (Knwble) for the recently launched human food products. The oil for these products is produced in Red Wing.

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