Food for Thought at Colorado Mills


Kevin Swanson Displays Processed Grains


Colorado Mills hosted its 4th annual chef’s tour of the facilities in Lamar this past Monday, September 30th, providing an opportunity for Front Range representatives to learn about some aspects of field to market production in hopes of adding to the growth of rural agriculture products along the Front Range and throughout the state.

Mayor Stagner with Visitors at Pocket Park

Rick Robbins, CEO of Colorado Mills, along with Kent Wollert and Kevin Swanson, took about 40 visitors on a tour of the plant off North 2nd Street, explaining how sunflowers and other grains are processed into livestock feeds as well as cooking oil and most recently, a line of cosmetics.

Grain Bins


Representatives from various food lines were included on the five hour morning bus journey which provided an opportunity to do some networking while enjoying a movable meal of breakfast fare. Businesses and organizations included Whole Foods, a Colorado Mills customer, The Modern Eater website, Colorado Chef’s Association, Culinary Apprenticeship Program, American Master Chef and American Culinary Association, among others such as Aspen Bakery which provided pastries while enroute to Lamar.

Kent Wollert, Financial Analyst for CM

Working in three groups, the visitors were shown how Colorado Mills employees processed and sunflower harvests from its own fields, as well as from other contributing farms in a 150 mile radius, to produce a variety of feeds, range cubes, supplements and oils for the agriculture and ranching industry. Sunflower cooking oil and a line of organic-based cosmetics, two of the newer products, were also displayed at the front office.

Portion of Cosmetic Line

The visitors were treated to a local luncheon at the downtown Pocket Park with Dub’s Burgers and Backyard BBQ providing the main meal and Brew Unto Others offered beverages. Lamar Mayor Roger Stagner and County Commissioner Wendy Buxton-Andrade welcomed the gathering.

Robbins said the 4th annual visit has grown to using a tour bus to transport Front Range visitors, “We’ve expanded our scope with the help of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, the Kansas and Colorado Farm Bureaus and Prowers County to sponsor this event.  They get a feel of what it takes to process our harvests to the point where it enters their kitchens.”  He said last year, some of the visitors got a chance to run a combine and see that our providers are not a government sized operation, but family farms, some from five past generations who provide employment and a product in our state.”  The visitor’s afternoon agenda included a stop at R Triple T Farms.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureCity of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyEventsFeaturedUtilities


About the Author: