Who We Are
Panhandle Milling specializes in transforming grains and seeds grown on the farm into flavorful products on the shelf. With outstanding farmer relationships and capabilities that include grain cleaning, flour milling, flour and grain blending and private label packaging products, we create real solutions for today’s food companies. The family atmosphere of our company, the passion of our staff and the entrepreneurial spirit embedded in our culture make Panhandle more than an ingredient provider, but truly a food ingredient creation partner. In-house customized formulation coupled with our superior conventional and organic products assures that you get consistently high-quality products that we can both stand behind. Give us a call or send an email and let’s get your products moving forward.
Our employees are number one! We truly care about our employees and their families. Providing an atmosphere of innovation and ensuring the safety of our people is vital to our success. The sum of all our hard-working employees makes up the company we love, Panhandle Milling.
“Quality” is not just a buzz word for us! We invest heavily in equipment, training, and certifications to assure that our products are next to none. With experienced engineers and a quality assurance lab onsite our products are checked, checked and checked again to make sure that the ingredients you receive will provide you with top notch finished products.
Some people simply want a quick sale. Those people are not Panhandle Milling. The relationships we have with each and every customer matters. We believe actions matter more than words when it comes to showing our customers that we care. Our agility allows us to meet our customers’ needs.
Roots in Innovation
Formulating solutions and serving others have long been the virtues of the visionary. The story of Panhandle Milling begins with Harold Dillehay, a man who did just that.
Born in 1933 in Vega, Texas, Dillehay worked at the local grain elevator starting at age 11, eventually becoming a manager at the Taylor/Evan Grain Company. When the elevator was sold and he found himself unemployed, Dillehay instead became their competitor. In 1965, he honed his knowledge of the grain business and founded Farmer’s Elevator of Dawn at Dawn, Texas.
Twenty years later with the investments of some local farmers, Dillehay added a flour mill and in 1985, Farmer’s Elevator of Dawn became Panhandle Milling. Seeking the freedom to chase his most creative ideas, Dillehay eventually bought out his partners, and over the next decade, Panhandle grew from a local distribution hub to a pioneer in grain processing.
Panhandle expanded across the southwest, supplying flour for bakeries from El Paso to Albuquerque. Dillehay extended credit terms to farmers, forming and sustaining healthy relationships with locals. To increase capacity, Dillehay added facilities for corn cleaning, flour packing, rail loading and unloading. In 1990, he was a founding member of Happy State Bank, still a leading bank in the state of Texas, to financially support his own venture.
With Dillehay continuing to meet the needs of the market, Panhandle became a paragon of sustainability and innovation.
By 1997, Dillehay was ready to retire, and he sold Panhandle Milling to 21st Century Grain Processing. Under its new owners and new name, the plant in Dawn expanded, doubling its capacity by 1999 and moving from the historical business to the high-volume market.
But such growth soon distanced the company from its roots. No longer a cooperative service for farmers, 21st Century Grain left the corn business and became a distribution center for bulk products. In 2010, the plant was purchased by Viterra, Inc., then sold again to Richardson International in 2013. During this period of changing hands, the business lost focus. The corporate owners were not equipped to manage the uniqueness of the asset or able to connect with the needs of locals. That’s when Ledge, LLC purchased the facility in 2016, with the vision of restoring the mill to its former position as a leader in food manufacturing.
Back to our Roots
In 1999 John Mason and Bryan Ledgerwood met while working in a flour mill together on the east coast. It was not long before their friendship flourished, and they went into business together investing in real estate. By 2007 their real estate company grew to the point that a formal company was needed to manage the growing business, and Ledge, LLC was established. John and Bryan spent over 20 years working for large food and agriculturally based companies. They both served at various senior levels of leadership in their respective settings, but they continuously felt the entrepreneurial spirit and desire to forge their own path outside of a corporate environment. For years, John and Bryan searched for an opportunity to create a company that could deliver their vision of what a food and agriculture company could be. After numerous attempts, they finally found their platform in Dawn, Texas. In 2016 the two entrepreneurs leveraged their real estate holdings and with the support of John Cure and Bill Streeter, acquired the flour mill in Dawn, Texas. Shortly after the purchase Peter Bisaccia and Scott Freebern joined the team as two of the founding members. The company name was changed back to its original, and once again called Panhandle Milling.
The team of owners understood that their customers needed a proactive partner in the food and agriculture space. Panhandle Milling now operates under one overarching principle: to provide the customer with optimal solutions for reaching their goals, Panhandle Milling must move at the speed of the customer’s demand.
Serving the Customer and Finding the Niche
This new focus offered a path for more expansion. Using flour milling as the springboard, Panhandle Milling added to their product portfolio and started processing gluten-free, organic grains, non-wheat-based flours, cereals, beans, and non-GMO products. By introducing new products and custom packaging configurations, they quickly realized an expansion of their geographic boundary and could reach new customers coast to coast.
Their customer base continued to ask, and the Panhandle Milling team continued to listen. In 2017 a state-of-the-art mixing center was added to the list of manufacturing capabilities, equipped to handle up to 25% liquid fat in flour mixes created unique products for bakers across the nation. Customers wanted more packaging flexibility in the retail segment, so Panhandle added a total of 14 new packers, with capacities ranging from 1-ounce form fill and seal single-serve pouches to 2,000-pound bulk totes. Customers desired new products using ancient and specialty grains and by 2018, Panhandle was cleaning and grinding a wide variety of specialty grains to include quinoa, teff, and non-GMO corn.
Panhandle soon learned that serving these niche demands prompted the same self-reliance that Dillehay used to sustain his business. Panhandle developed its own IT tools that created an advantage in pricing, operations, and inventory management. When demands for wheat grew beyond the mill’s capacity, they acquired a grain elevator in Pritchett, CO and expanded storage in Dawn and Hereford, TX. To support the growing retail business, Panhandle tripled the onsite warehouse storage and added rail service and cold storage for the retail market.
In 2021 Panhandle Milling became the first Ready-to-Eat Flour Mill (RTE) in the United States. Panhandle now offers low-micro and ready-to-eat flours, mixes, and grains using PHM Safe™ technology. With state-of-the-art milling, mix, and packaging capabilities, Panhandle Milling is positioned to service retail products nationwide. By providing brand protection for customers with the use of PHM Safe™ technology, this revolutionary capability allowed Panhandle the ability to solve many of the food safety challenges that have raddled the industry in recent years.
The Pride of Panhandle
Today, Panhandle Milling is the leading supplier of grain-based consumer packaged foods, with a focus on milling, mixing, and custom packaging of grain-based products. Powered by their own PHM Safe™ technology, the facilities specialize in low-micro and RTE flours, mixes, and grains. Through strong and cherished relationships with local farmers, Panhandle guarantees delivery of superior conventional and organic products to store shelves.
With 54 years in the industry, Our People – Our Quality – Our Customer remain the guard rails of what differentiates Panhandle Milling from others. As the market continues to ask of specific needs, Panhandle continues to listen and respond, innovating solutions that customers need to grow their business and meet their goals.
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