Mike Wagner highlights ‘Stability’ and ‘Certainty’

Cargill’s Managing Director for Cargill’s Starches, Sweeteners, and Texturizers North American Business, emphasized the importance of stability and certainty for the Wahpeton corn wet milling plant. “I couldn’t imagine not having Wahpeton in our corn milling network,” stated Mike Wagner. “On February 24th, when we held a ‘virtual announcement’ about our agreement, Wahpeton employees offered a sustained ovation. I knew what the announcement meant to me, but it meant much more to them because uncertainty was replaced with stability for the future.”

Wagner stated that corn wet milling is at the core of Cargill’s operations. “To be profitable, corn wet mills need to run at capacity.” Wagner described their effort to divert an increasing percentage of the grind from HFCS which is slowly declining in consumption, to other products. The strategy to convert grind includes working with other companies that want to locate next to a Cargill site utilizing dextrose or starch to make a variety of products such as: zero-calorie fermented sweeteners; food bulking agents; bioplastics (PLA); butanediol (BDO) which is a renewable chemical used in the apparel (like spandex), automotive, and electronics industries; absorbent material for biodegradable diapers; and more.

“When we present our locations to a prospective company to co-locate at one of our facilities, we present a menu of possibilities so that they can match their needs to a specific location.” Low carbon sites are an important consideration for companies looking for a site, he said. Wagner stressed that Cargill also needs to determine if a potential co-located partner is right for the site and for Cargill. “We evaluate proposals very carefully. to make sure that the partnership is going to be a good fit for both parties.”