DENVER — Tuesday, July 16, 2013 — Gov. John Hickenlooper announced today that Ardent Mills – which will operate as a joint venture of ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS – will make Colorado its headquarters. The joint venture transaction is anticipated to be complete in late 2013, and the new company is expected to have a presence in the Denver area starting in 2014, contingent upon final approval of incentive packages.
“Ardent Mills is an excellent fit for Colorado and will bring benefits to both rural and urban areas of the state,” Hickenlooper said. “We want to welcome Ardent Mills to Colorado and we look forward to helping them tap into one of the nation’s top workforces and our vibrant agriculture community that includes leading agricultural research institutions.”
Ardent Mills will be a new premier flour milling joint venture, bringing together two of the nation’s leading and most respected flour milling companies: ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling, a Cargill-CHS joint venture formed in 2002. Ardent Mills will take advantage of the combined assets, capabilities and experience of ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS to bring innovative flour and grain products, services and solutions to the marketplace.
Ardent Mills will benefit as well from an existing strong Colorado presence with ConAgra Mills’ mill facilities in Commerce City and Denver, where the company makes innovative flour products such as Ultragrain®. ConAgra Mills also has extensive relationships with wheat farmers, industry organizations and universities in Colorado.
“Colorado has unique advantages in the agriculture industry,” said Ken Lund, Executive Director of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade. “We have a talented workforce, an innovative and pro-business climate and offer a company like Ardent Mills a strong and inclusive statewide industry network made up of partners, higher education, research institutions and business leaders that can uniquely and effectively support them with their efforts and ensure their success.”
Ardent Mills will operate as an independent joint venture of its three parent companies, Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra Foods, Minneapolis, Minn.-based Cargill and St. Paul, Minn.-based CHS. Dan Dye, who currently serves as president of Horizon Milling, will lead Ardent Mills as chief executive officer. Dye will be joined by Bill Stoufer, current president of ConAgra Mills, as Ardent Mills’ chief operating officer and chief integration officer. The company’s operations and services will be supported by 44 flour mills, three bakery mix facilities and a specialty bakery, all located in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Colorado’s agriculture ecosystem
Colorado is the world’s largest producer of Snowmass Ultragrain Wheat, a whole wheat flour that provides unique performance. Over the last decade, Colorado wheat production has created approximately 15,717 jobs. Colorado State University has the second-highest number of agriculture pending patent in the nation. Colorado has already attracted other world class crop genetics companies, including Limagrain and Cargill.