Golden Growers total payout hits milestone

MOORHEAD, Minn. — As of February 2013, cash distributions for owners of Golden Growers Cooperative, a high-fructose corn sweetener plant in Wahpeton, N.D., surpassed the $3.45 per unit that farmers originally invested to build the plant in 1995.

At the Golden Growers annual meeting in Moorhead, Minn., on March 21, co-op officials reported earnings per share increased to 36 cents last year, up from 34 cents per share in 2011. Equity has declined to $42.7 million from $46.6 million, but that’s by design.

Fargo-based Golden Growers is a 49 percent owner of ProGold LLC with American Crystal Sugar Co. of Moorhead. Fifteen years ago, the two companies leased the plant to Cargill, which now processes about 30 million bushels of corn into corn fructose at the location. About half of the corn comes from Golden Growers members.

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