Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By Marcello Piccinini
Siemer Milling Company has been a huge part of the Teutopolis village’s economy and prosperity ever since its opening.
“We have a huge impact in the agricultural industry in this area. We buy millions of bushels of crops from local farmers,” said Connie Barr, vice president of customer service at Siemer’s. “We are an operation that runs 24/7.”
The Siemer Mill is one of the oldest buildings in Teutopolis and has been family owned and operated for five generations. In
1882, Uptmor and Siemer Proprieters joined operations to create Hope Mills, Uptmor and Siemer Proprietors. In 1906, Siemer bought the Uptmor interests and created the company Siemer Milling. The first mill was too small and a new mill was built in the village to accommodate the needs of the company.
Siemer Milling Company creates several wheat products such as soft and hard wheat flours for cookies, crackers, bread, and an assortment of other items. Wheat germ, wheat bran, whole-wheat flour and original flour are the ingredients that they produce. They also have heat treatment for their products, said Barr.
There are two mills built so far and one is under construction, she said, and the company’s biggest struggles are running under restrictive regulations.
A resident of Teutopolis, Jane Helmink, gave her thoughts on the mill regarding whether it gives off pollution: “There is probably some pollution, but with cars and everything else, the pollution is probably not that detrimental.”
The manager of the Teutopolis Press, Nancy Bence, talked about the history of the mill and how it benefits local farmers. The mill was instrumental in the creation of Teutopolis because it gave local farmers a location to bring their crops. They used to have to go seven miles to Green Creek or 23 miles to Newton if they wanted to sell crops before the construction of the mill.
“They’ve done a lot of good for this community,” said Bence. The mill also benefits the village’s economy because it offers jobs.
Retired trucker Randy Hotmacher said the Siemer homestead is still standing and hasn’t been torn down, and the original Siemer home was restored a while ago. When asked about whether he thinks the mill is clean or not, Hotmacher said, “It’s a clean mill.” He also mentioned that the company donates a lot to the community and a lot of wheat is brought in through it.
The Siemer Mill has provided a location for farmers and locals to generate money through selling crops or working jobs. The village of Teutopolis has prospered greatly from the Siemer Mill’s hand in the community’s economy.