New rice mill planned for Arkansas

by Eric Schroeder
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PINE BLUFF, ARK. — Optimum Group, through an Arkansas corporation named Southwind Milling Co. L.L.C., is building a rice mill at the Port of Pine Bluff. The mill is expected to be operating by February 2015 and will have a capacity of 12 tonnes per hour. A total of 25 jobs will be created initially, the company said.

Southwind Milling also plans to expand again at the port in the near future, doubling the capacity of the mill and building a rice flour mill. Part of the expansion will include a port dock, which the company said it will use to take advantage of direct barge loading capabilities and inland waterways transportation.

“This has been an impressive project from the very beginning, and we’ve certainly enjoyed watching it grow in scope,” said Lou Ann Nisbett, president of the Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County. “I’m looking forward to seeing Southwind’s new mill take shape and to all the activity it will generate at the port.”

Based in Pine Bluff, Southwind Milling is a member company of the Optimum Group. Optimum started its farming operations in the Delta States (Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana) in 2009. Southwind primarily is focused in the industrialization and marketing of rice.
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