Lehi Roller Mills and bureaucracy

Lehi Roller Mills (Photo: David Jolley / Staplegunther, via Wikimedia Commons)

A great local business in northern Utah County, Lehi Roller Mills, has recently filed for bankruptcy protection. Hopefully the move will allow the company to get back on its feet and remain viable for the sake of the community, employees and owners.

It’s a mighty thin pancake that doesn’t have two sides. So, without knowing all the details, it’s impossible to say any of the players in this story is wholly in the right or in the wrong.

Having said that, some of what has contributed to the Roller Mills’ difficulty seems to be government overreaching.

Specifically, when the Roller Mills had trouble making payroll in July of 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor sent a letter to its suppliers and distributors threatening that they were in possible violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act for dealing with the Roller Mills.

Whatever the practices of a company, it cannot be helpful to their business survival to have other companies with whom they do business threatened by the government. Again, perhaps there is more information not available in the public news stories, but on its face this behavior looks unhelpful.

Perhaps that is the challenge of a large, distant bureaucracy. Many small business owners know that they may see a dip in revenue and will have to hope that employees and others will be patient as they try to get on their feet again. Add an impersonal agency to the mix, however, and the situation becomes that much more difficult.

Incidentally, another story last month reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided in favor of “allowing more grains and meats in kids’ meals.”

With this spreading oversight in all of our lives, we may all gain a little more sympathy for the Lehi Roller Mills soon. It wouldn’t hurt to keep them in mind for your post-holiday baking.

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