Colorado Lamb Processors An Industry Asset for Consumers and Producers

January 12, 2024

One of the highlights during the 2024 American Sheep Industry Association Convention was opportunity to tour Colorado Lamb Processors and Rule Feeders near Brush, CO.

Lamb feeder Spence Rule explains why he and others decided to invest in Colorado Lamb Processors and bring it online for both producers and consumers.

Colorado" is the largest lamb feeding state in the United States," said Rule. "We have the biggest production here. It's an area that really needed it. Denver is is encroaching upon the agricultural industry completely. It was our thought about 3, 4 or 5 years ago that we needed to take care of some of the people that didn't have their own processing facilities, but were still breaking a lot of product. They were starting to get kind of pushed to the side, and everybody wanted them to go imported. So, Steve Raftopoulos, Mike Harper and myself decided at that time we would try to put up a plant without a break. We don't run a break. We don't want to compete with those people in that part of the industry. We just wanted to harvest lambs, feed lambs and produce stuff that we think consumers want. That was the brain brainstorming behind building this plant."

He says that Colorado Lamb Processors has been fully operational now for three years, with a weekly kill of around 3,500 head, with hopes of increasing that.

"We've not really reached capacity yet," said Rule. "At any one time, we've killed as many as 1,550 a day, but at present time we're at about 3,200 a week, 3,500 a week. We we would sure like it to get bigger, but I think it's time goes on that'll come. We're just a kill and chill outfit here. Everything we do is harvested here. Then it's shipped to the East Coast, either to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, one of those three, and then they're broke there. And most everything is marketed on the East Coast."

Even through some of the industry challenges here lately, he's optimistic about the future.

"It couldn't be truer," said Rule. "We've got an industry that's small but it's pretty darn strong. The people in there are pretty resilient, willing to change. That's the biggest thing that I would say about the sheep industry. They'll change as much as they can. We still have to lamb predominantly once, maybe twice a year. So, that part still kind of brings some challenges to it. But everybody's willing to change. And the feeding styles and the production styles as much as they can."

Of course, the U.S. sheep industry wouldn't be what it is today without the lamb feeding and lamb processing industries.

Source: Western Ag Network