Five Rivers Horton Feedyard

Wellington, Colorado

Economic impact

Payroll: $630,000+
Payroll Taxes: $50,000+
Area Unemployment: 3.4%
Utilities: $160,000+

 Situated in beautiful Northern Colorado in the plains is “Colorado’s Northern Gateway.” Wellington is located between two state capitols: Denver, Colo., and Cheyenne, Wyo. The Town of Wellington was an oil, coal, and agricultural hub throughout the 1800s and became a stopping location for wagon trains, travelers, and military movement between Cheyenne and Fort Collins, Colo. Wellington was also the childhood home of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White. 

From the ground up, the Horton Feedyard was built by Dallas Horton D.V.M . between 1976 to 1977. Research always intrigued Dr. Horton, so the yard was constructed with research-minded pens. They started out with 120 (10-head) pens which grew to 256 (10-head) pens. Each pen had its own individual waterer and, as Trent Horton recalls, “As kids we would get to clean them. I was 8 years old, and Troy was 11 at the time. The motivation for us to do the work was that when we were finished, we could ride our motor bikes on the farm.” 

The research center conducted hundreds of trials over the years. The trials ranged from feed additives, vaccines, implants, and feed formulations, to name a few. Cattle were the main species to test at Wellington but when the feedlot started to take form, Dr. Horton set up pens to run trials with sheep. Eventually, the sheep phased out and the Horton kids helped transform the sheep pens into cattle pens. Dr. Horton also farmed the ground next to the yard to provide roughage for the animals. Dallas and his father, Dallas Sr., engineered the pump site in the late 1970s. It is still in use today. Each time the yard expanded, the pivot would have to be moved to accommodate the feed yard. The yard has expanded two times since its formation. 

The Horton Feedyard was built by Dallas Horton and in August of 2022, it became the 13th feedyard to join the Five Rivers Cattle Feeding family. 

5100 E County Rd 70 
Wellington, CO 80549 

General Manager
Ryan Peterson

Team Members

Cattle Capacity
9,500 head

Feedlot Space
Feedyard Area: 495 acres
Irrigated/Dryland: 489 acres

Geographical Purchasing Region
Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota

Grain Storage/Bushel

Average Precipitation: 12 inches
Average Snowfall: 20 inches

Ryan Peterson

General Manager

Ryan grew up in southwest Michigan on a family farm consisting of a commercial cow/calf herd, feedlot, and row crops. He attended Michigan State University receiving a degree in Agribusiness Management and then attended Colorado State University, earning a master’s degree in Ruminant Nutrition. Ryan’s first exposure to Five Rivers was when he moved to Colorado, working at the feedlot research facility in Lamar that neighbored Colorado Beef. Upon completion of graduate school, Ryan worked for a large seedstock company in northern Colorado that developed cattle at the Horton Feedlot in Wellington. Ryan joined Five Rivers in 2019 as the Assistant General Manager at Kuner Feedlot and became the General Manager of both Horton Feedyard and Montera Feedyard when Five Rivers purchased those locations in 2022. Ryan and his wife and two boys reside in Wellington, Colorado.

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