Golden Growers Cooperative (GGC) was formed in 1994 to create a value-added processing opportunity for corn growers in the Dakotas and Minnesota, and currently has about 1,600 members. GGC owns 49% of ProGold LLC in partnership with American Crystal Sugar Company, and ProGold owns a corn wet-milling plant near Wahpeton, North Dakota. The ProGold plant makes high fructose corn sweeteners, corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. The plant also separates corn germ which is sold for production of corn oil. Since, 1997, the ProGold plant has been leased to Cargill, Inc., which operates the plant and markets all of its products. The current lease agreement extends to December 31, 2017.
In September, 2009, the co-op was re-organized under Minnesota’s statute 308B, which allows GGC to function as a cooperative but be taxed as a limited liability partnership. At that time, GGC opened its membership to residents of the 50 states and non-corn producers. All members do, however, have an annual corn delivery obligation that can be met by actual corn deliveries or by appointing GGC as its agent to arrange for delivery of their commitment. Members are required to own a minimum of 4,000 Units, and each member’s corn commitment is one bushel per Unit of ownership.