From the start of flood trouble in Hamburg, there has never been any doubt that the Manildra company would remain in the town and would work for a complete recovery.
The drive to rebuild started not long after the flood waters arrived at the southwest Iowa town.
Darin Elliott, director of operations, said Manildra got word for the Army Corps of Engineers on March 16 that a Missouri River levee breach would lead to flooding in Hamburg within 24 hours.
Immediately, workers buckled down with 18 employees working 24 hours straight to get equipment from the company to higher ground.
Although the equipment was moved out of what was thought to be the flood zone, the waters came in higher and more devastating than expected and, even the safe space, was not safe enough.
All of the equipment was lost.
What did Manildra do?
Elliott said that with the devastation of flooding hitting his employees hard, the last thing they needed was a loss of income or time away from their families.
In response, Manildra gave the employees two weeks of paid time off to deal with the damage and to attempt to adjust to the flooding issues.
Those employees returned after two weeks and the recovery began in ernest.
At first, Elliott said trips were made to the Manildra site to assess damages and do whatever could be done to get the clean up and recovery started. The water level dropped and the employees then went to the site using a vehicle that could get through as much as five feet of water.
It was 10 weeks before the employees could actually drive to work once again.
Clean up from the flood was done by the employees of the company.
Contractors joined in on the effort to rebuild in July.
It was important to get up and going quickly.
One of Manildra’s products, pre-gelatinized wheat starch, is in very high demand.
As a matter of fact, Elliott said the pre-gelatinized wheat starch produced at Hamburg constitutes 40 percent of that available on the market.
What is pre-gelatinized wheat starch? Elliott explains that the starch is the cooked version of the starch used by cooks to thicken gravy.
By cooking it, Elliott said the pre-gelatinized wheat starch offered by Manildra allows for cold application as a thickening agent rather than just in hot conditions like the gravy example.
The pre-gelatinized wheat starch production was up and running just after labor day. The company brought back its modified gluten system two weeks ago.
Elliott said the goal is to have the plant completely back online by the December.
There will then be an effort to get the packaging portion of the business back up and going.
The packaging operation has been taking place at the old  Orscheln building in Shenandoah.
Elliott said the new packaging system should be delivered in Hamburg by the start of the year and, by mid January, the hope is that all of Manildra’s employees will be back working under the same roof.
Although a big chunk of the work is done or close to done at Manildra, the worry continues.
Flooding forecasts for next year indicate there is a likely flood event coming.
Elliott said the Manildra company made its investments for rebuilding based on assurances from elected officials, including the governor of the state of Iowa.
Assurances won’t stop Manildra from planning, however.
Elliott said the company is working on contingency plans in case flood waters return in the spring of 2020.
A definite positive in terms of  hope for 2020 is the fact that Hamburg was able to fortify its west ditch levee and keep water out of the town during the second flood event of 2019.
Elliott said there is a high amount of confidence that the town will respond to the situation once again.
“You don’t bet against the farmers and the local folks of Hamburg. They will do what needs to be done,” Elliott said.

About Manildra
Since 1952, Manildra has earned a worldwide reputation as the leader in vital wheat gluten, native and modified starches, and specialty wheat proteins.
Manildra Group USA began manufacturing in Hamburg in 1994