Linda Köberle is a real mill child. “I used to help out here during vacations, when I was a child. I always felt at home in the mill and was interested in everything,” she says. Fortunately for the eighth generation of the family business, Linda is the only one of three sisters to enter the milling business and would like to take over the Weissachmühle in Allgäu at some point.
“Our mill was first mentioned around 1800,” the miller relates. “Today we are a thoroughly modern business with 120 employees. Of course, we are proud of that, but we still can’t rest on our laurels.” The Weissachmühle has changed a lot over the past few decades. A compound feedstuff plant was first added to the flour mill, followed by an additional specialization in horse feed. The company successfully markets its marstall brand throughout Europe.
To operate this three-component business model successfully, Linda Köberle needs a good foundation. She took a rather unusual route in this regard. After school, she first attended the WelfenAkademie in Braunschweig to do an integrated degree in business administration with a major in agribusiness. While gaining practical experience in an agricultural trading company in Ratzeburg, she was also able to complete an apprenticeship, meaning she subsequently graduated from the DMSB not only as a state-certified technician, but also as a master miller.
“My father also attended the DMSB and we grew up with stories about his Braunschweig days and ‘Glück zu’. So, I was always very interested in going there. Needless to say, my father was very pleased. I think all graduates dream of their children becoming DMSB students and encourage them to do so,” Linda Köberle figures. Those who have had such good experiences naturally want to pass them on. The daughter mainly benefits from the technical subjects in her everyday working life. “Planning, process and mechanical engineering – these things help me immensely in practice. The subjects of animal nutrition and compound feedstuff production are of course also very helpful, especially for our compound and horse feedstuff businesses.”
When it comes to expanding the mill, she knows exactly how upstream areas work. How do millwrights proceed? What planning and calculation variables are there? How can production processes be optimized? With her sound DMSB training in the background, she can assess new developments in mill technology and knows what suits the family business.
Today, the flour mill produces baker’s flour from wheat and rye and delivers it throughout the Allgäu region. Farm animal feed is produced in the new compound feedstuff plant built in 2011, with the Weissachmühle concentrating on the production of dairy cattle feed. As a third revenue stream, the company produces horse feed under the ‘marstall’ brand name. This is sold throughout Europe. The diversity in the horse feed segment is extremely large: feed mixtures with and without cereals, for recreational and competition horses, seniors, and foals, as well as supplementary feeds leave nothing to be desired. “Horse owners are a very demanding clientele. They only want the best for their animal.” As a former rider, Linda Köberle has great understanding for this. She is pleased that she has such a diverse range of customer groups, including horse lovers, farmers, and bakers. “So, it never gets boring in our business. The requirements, the products, the distribution and also the logistics are very different – there is always something to enhance.”
The employees are also correspondingly diverse. In addition to millers, the Köberle family also employs agricultural technicians, metal workers, truck drivers, warehouse logistics specialists and people in a wide range of commercial professions. “It is often difficult to find apprentices, especially for the milling business,” Linda Köberle explains. “The job description is unfortunately not very well known – and often young people don’t know how technological and specialized the profession is.” She would also like to see more female applicants. “It certainly wasn’t a female profession in the past. But those days are gone.” She herself is the best example of that.