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Former director with Ardent Mills plans to return the Dawn, Texas, U.S. facility to a family-run business.

DAWN, TEXAS, U.S. – John Mason, with John Cure, completed the purchase of the Richardson Milling flour mill in Dawn, Texas, U.S., on Jan. 8, Mason confirmed to World Grain on Jan. 11.

Mason, a long-time miller and former senior director with Ardent Mills, said he plans to return the Dawn mill to a family-run business that focuses on its people, quality products and customers.
“The team is staying in place, with a few additional people to be a part of the day-to-day operations,” Mason said. “I will be intimately involved with the day-to-day operations of the business, with the focus being on creating a family environment and delivering quality products to the market.”

The 5,000-cwts facility produces organic, whole grain, high gluten flour, and bread flour, which is mostly sold into the Texas market. It does have some products that go nationwide.

The facility will be renamed Panhandle Milling, LLC, which was the original name when the mill was founded in 1985 by a farmer cooperative.  It was purchased by 21st Century Grain Processing Cooperative in 2001, and then it was purchased by Viterra Inc. several years ago. When Viterra was purchased by Glencore International PLC in 2012, Glencore agreed to sell certain assets to Richardson International. This included Viterra’s milling business, which included the Dawn wheat mill and four oat processing plants.

Cure said he’s extremely excited to be part of such a vibrant group of people, and looks forward to participating in another agriculture business. Cure is a long-time feedlot operator and wheat farmer in Colorado.

Mason said the facility was an attractive purchase because of its people and their long-time commitment to the mill, as well as its strategic location.

“The mill is uniquely situated to take full advantage of the changing grain products such as organic, sprouted grains, whole wheat products,” Mason said. “It supplies extremely consistent flour products with superior quality as a result of the large natural wheat sources in the area.”

Mason was most recently the senior director of operations for Ardent’s flour mills and worked at the company’s corporate offices in Denver, Colorado, U.S. Making the decision to leave the nation’s largest milling company that includes 40 flour mills and bakery-mix facilities was not easy, Mason said.

“I will miss Ardent Mills and all the great people and leaders that make Ardent Mills so special,” he said. “I was blessed with the opportunity to be part of Ardent Mills and thankful for the incredible leaders there that nourished the culture and built an incredible team.”

Mason, who has managed more than 30 different flour plants during 23 years in the milling industry, said he loves Texas and is excited to be a part of the community.

“Texas has been home to me and my two kids more than any other state outside of Colorado,” Mason said. “My daughter reminds me she is a Texas native.”

As for future acquisitions, Mason said Panhandle Milling is focused on supplying the best customer experience.

“If future opportunities strengthen our ability to deliver to the customer, we will review all options,” he said.