Scott Jetvig, At-Large Director, will not seek reelection

Scott Jetvig of Hawley, MN has announced that he will not seek reelection to the Golden Growers Board of Directors. Jetvig was first elected in March of 2014 as a director from the NE District. After bylaw changes that reduced the Board to 9 members, Jetvig was selected to serve as an At-Large member.

Jetvig is a valued member of the Board who serves on the Executive Committee as 2nd Vice Chair, Finance & Audit Committee, and the Personnel & Compensation Committee. We thank Scott for his service.

Three Director Positions will be Elected/Re-Elected in conjunction with the March 21st Annual Meeting
Along with the notice of Annual Meeting, members have the opportunity to re-elect and elect Directors to serve on the GGC Board of Directors. Directors MUST be nominated by petition and all votes will be by mail.

Current directors up for re-election for 3-year terms are: Blane Benedict, Sabin, MN (North District) and Larry Vipond, Herman, MN (South District). Scott Jetvig, Hawley, MN (At-Large Director) has decided not to seek re-election, therefore, a three-year term At-Large Director position is an open seat on the Board.

Any member in good standing is eligible to be nominated. Candidates for a District director position, must be from that district. Candidates for an At-Large director position may be from any district. If interested, you must file a petition with signatures of at least 10 members from your district for District Directors positions or 10 members from any district for the At-Large Director position no later than February 19th as required by our bylaws. For more information, visit www.goldengrowers.com or contact Scott Stofferahn, 701-281-0468 or scotts@goldengrowers.com.

SAVE THE DATE: GGC Annual Meeting Set for THURSDAY, MARCH 21st

Golden Growers Cooperative will hold its Annual Members Meeting on Thursday, March 21st at the Doubletree Conference Center, 825 E Beaton Drive, West Fargo, ND. Members will have the opportunity to elect Directors to serve on the Golden Growers Board. Current directors up for re-election for 3-year terms are: Scott Jetvig, Hawley, MN (At-Large Director); Larry Vipond, Herman, MN (South District); and Blane Benedict, Sabin, MN (North District)

Any member in good standing is eligible to be nominated as an At-Large Director or as a Director in the district where the member is registered. If you are interested and want more information about district elections, visit our website at www.goldengrowers.com or contact us at 701-281-0468 or scotts@goldengrowers.com.

Annual Meeting Notice, Ballot & Report – Changes for 2024

Because the 2024 Annual meeting is earlier than usual in March, it will be difficult to timely mail out the Annual Meeting Notice with election materials and the Annual Report at the same time. As a result, we intend to mail out an ‘Annual Meeting and Election Booklet’ that will contain the Annual Meeting Notice, Minutes from the 2023 Annual Meeting; a Message from our Chairman, Brett Johnson, Director Candidate Biographies, and the Election Ballot. In addition, we will include 2023 financial highlights and identify where the detailed Annual Report can be found on the Golden Growers website as soon as the audit report becomes available. This change will assure that members will receive their election ballot in time to return it before the annual meeting.

FERC Approves Wahpeton Natural Gas Pipeline

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Approves Wahpeton Natural Gas Pipeline
On October 20th, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the WBI Energy Eastern ND pipeline from Mapleton to Kindred and Wahpeton. FERC’s approval authorizes WBI Energy to construct 60 miles of 12-inch natural gas pipeline from a Mapleton, ND to Wahpeton, ND as well as extending service to Kindred, ND.

According to WBI Energy, the expansion will provide an additional 20 million cubic feet of natural gas capacity per day and is expected to cost around $75 million.

Wahpeton Mayor Brett Lambrecht thanked several people for their advocacy on behalf of the project. Specifically, he identified the assistance of Senator John Hoeven and ND District 25 Representative Alisa Mitskog.

When complete, this significant natural gas project will provide a dependable supply of natural gas for existing customers AND allow for future industrial expansion in the area.

Construction is anticipated to begin this spring with pipeline service to begin in late 2024.

2024 Incentive Payments and Agency Fees

For calendar year 2024, Golden Growers will pay $0.05 for Method A bushels delivered directly to the plant and will charge $0.02 for Method B bushels the Cooperative secures and delivers on a member’s behalf.

At $0.05/bushel, the Method A incentive for 2024 is a reduction from 2023 when the Board authorized an incentive payment of $0.10/bushel. The 2023 increase was to avoid dropping below the 25% threshold for Method A pool participation. Falling below the 25% threshold would have resulted in greater income being allocated to the Method A pool compared to the Method B pool.

The board believed that the $200,000 cost for increasing the Method A incentive payment in 2023 was a better option than potentially greater cost associated with the complex task of tracking uneven allocated income.

At our 2023 Annual meeting, members approved a bylaw change reducing the Method A delivery requirement to 15%. This bylaw change removed the concern of uneven allocated income between the Method A and Method B pools for the forseeable future. As a result, the Board has returned to a $0.05/bushel Method A incentive payment for 2023.

2024 ADA Pool Election Decision
Each year, Members have the opportunity to change their method of delivery by submitting a revised Annual Delivery Agreement (ADA). This is your only opportunity to change your method of delivery for the coming year.

You should have already received your Annual Delivery Election letter with the ADA form on the back page. If you intend to change your delivery method, return the form no later than December 10th.

Only members intending to change their delivery method need to respond. Members who deliver directly to the plant through the Method A pool have a $0.07/bushel advantage over members participating in the Method B pool.
In 2023, 27.5% of bushels are to be delivered directly to the plant through the Method A pool.

Method A Delivery Options to Consider
Method A Pool participants are permitted to complete their annual delivery requirements through ‘affiliated persons’. In these circumstances, Cargill may write the check for corn directly to the affiliated person.

Affiliated persons include producers who: 1) have a familial relationship to the Member; 2) Own or Control 50% or has management rights over the Member; 3) Shares farming resources with the Member; 4) Are an entity in which 50% ownership is by an immediate family member(s) of the Member; and 5) Rents land from the Member on which the crop is produced (Tenant).

GGC Board Approves Distribution of $0.14/bushel


On September 14th, the Golden Growers Board of Directors approved a distribution of $2,168,667 or $0.14/Unit to members of record as of October 1, 2023. This distribution retires remaining allocated income for 2021 and a portion of allocated income for 2022. In combination with the February and June distributions, a total of $6,815,811 has been issued to members in 2023.

As you are aware, as of March 1, 2022, Golden Growers Cooperative and Cargill are 50/50 owners of ProGold LLC and a new operating agreement was established. In addition, the lease agreement between ProGold and Cargill was amended to extend through calendar year 2026. The Board’s distribution determination is based on anticipated lease agreement revenue and potential capital investment requirements for Golden Growers should a long-term joint venture be established between Cargill and Golden Growers.GGC.)

With this payment, Golden Growers has issued payments to members totaling $135,295,007 or 251% of original investment in the ProGold plant.

Brett Johnson is Golden Growers new Chairman of the Board

At the conclusion of the Golden Growers Annual Meeting on March 23rd, the Board of Directors elected Brett Johnson as Chairman. Johnson replaces Mark Harless who served as Chair for eight years before retiring from the Board.

Brett Johnson was first elected to the Board in March of 2013. Most recently, Brett served as 1st Vice Chairperson and as Chair of the Audit Committee. Brett farms in partnership with his brother near Mooreton, ND where they raise corn, soybeans, and sunflowers. Mr. Johnson previously served twenty one years as a Township Officer, twelve years on the Wyndmere, ND School Board, and six years on the North Dakota Soybean Council. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from North Dakota State University.

The Board also elected Matt Hasbargen as Secretary, Larry Vipond as Treasurer, Nicolas Pyle as 1st Vice Chair, and Scott Jetvig as 2nd Vice Chair. Johnson, Hasbargen and Pyle will serve on the ProGold LLC Board of Governors.

Johnson appointed Brady Koehl as Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee, Larry Vipond as Chair of the Personnel and Compensation Committee and Matt Hasbargen Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee.

GGC Board Approves Distribution of $0.14/Unit


On June 15th, the Golden Growers Board of Directors approved a $0.14/Unit distribution of $2,168,667 to members of record as of June 1, 2023.

This distribution will retire a portion of remaining 2021 allocated income. With this distribution, the remaining equity credit balance is $7,982,511 or $0.52/bushel. This balance is useful in determining per Unit basis levels and does not constitute an outstanding obligation for GGC.

The Golden Growers Board reviewed five-year revenue projections related to the current lease agreement and the potential investment requirements of an integrated joint venture with Cargill. The Board concluded that it would be wise to maintain the existing reserve in order to pay for a significant portion of potential capital costs of the JV while maintaining level distributions to members for the next few years.

GGC has issued payments to members totaling $133,126,3440 or 247.6% of the original investment in the ProGold plant.

Estate Planning and Member Transfer Requests

Quite often, members or a law firm representing them, contact the Golden Growers office requesting changes related to estate planning. For members requesting these types of ‘private’ transfers, Golden Growers will prepare and mail the paperwork to the member for signature. Below are examples of typical requests related to estate planning.

Transfer membership from individual to joint tenancy to avoid probate
If a member has their interest listed in their name as an individual, and they pass away, their membership interest becomes part of their estate and disposition must be handled through the appropriate legal process. In Joint Tenancy, however, the membership interest owned equally between the joint tenants. If one joint tenant passes away, the membership interest is passed on the remaining joint tenant – eliminating the need for probate.

Transfer from an individual to a trust
Trusts are also useful tools to bypass probate. For instance, the grantor of a revocable trust can place assets into the trust and either manage the trust or have someone else manage it for them. In addition, if the grantor becomes incapacitated for any reason, named trustees can manage the assets without declaring the grantor incompetent. If the grantor recovers he/she can resume duties of managing the trust. Within the trust, a grantor can determine how assets are to be disbursed.

Note: Golden Growers will not list beneficiaries for membership interest, nor do we allow the membership interest to be placed into a retirement plan.

‘Unsettled” Harless outlines lingering effects of the pandemic on rail transportation

After discussing lasting effects of the pandemic that cause the economy to be ‘unsettled’, Chairman Harless focused on issues primarily related to the rail transportation industry.

Leading up to the pandemic relations between class I railroads and labor unions were already stressed due to the staff reductions related to precision scheduled railroading (PSR) implementation. As the pandemic unfolded, rail freight was reduced, employees were furloughed, and equipment was parked. “Contract negotiations, at a boiling point over PSR implementations, were further complicated when the pandemic amplified staff shortages,” said Harless. As the economy recovered, unions threatened strikes that could have caused severe harm to the economy. A tentative agreement was reached in September and imposed on Class I railroads and Unions in early December.

Harless stated the rail industry is still not staffed to pre-pandemic levels. Staff shortages coupled with a difficult winter have meant HFCS tanker cars arrived late and were not shipped timely to customers. As a result, the plant had to cut back on production from December to March. “BNSF is still working their way back to the quality of service our plant expects to receive and BNSF expects to provide,” related Harless. He thanked BNSF’s Matt Jensen for his presentation to discuss BNSF’s plans going forward.

Harless then shifted gears to discuss the new partnership in ProGold which appears to be ‘calm and steady’.

“One year ago, we announced that Golden Growers and Cargill had become fifty-fifty owners of the ProGold plant in Wahpeton. That significant event started Golden Growers on a path that holds both possibilities and a promise.”

The possibility is the potential for a long-term joint venture with Cargill. The promise is a set purchase price of Golden Growers share in ProGold for $81 million in late 2026 if a long-term agreement does not occur, explained Harless.

Harless stated that the partnership had been a positive experience with open lines of communication between partners. He highlighted several major capital investments that had occurred to include initial phases of the distributive control system (DCS) conversion, a pre-dryer rebuild, and the germ burner replacement.

“I can say with a level of certainty that the ProGold plant will continue to provide employment and serve our farm community for many years to come.”

“It has been a great honor and privilege to serve on the Golden Growers Board. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Chairman,” concluded Harless.