Corn Refiners and Sugar Association Settle Lawsuit

On November 20th, corn refiners and sugar companies reached a settlement in their ongoing legal dispute. In 2011, sugar companies filed suit claiming that the corn refiners campaign promoting HFCS as ‘corn sugar’ and ‘natural’ were false asking for $1.1 billion in compensatory damages. Corn refiners countersued for $530 million suggesting that the Sugar Association was promoting false information and creating fear about the safety of HFCS.

The lawsuits went to trial on November 3rd and were poised to result in a great deal of damage for the entire sweetener industry. Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed. Plaintiffs and defendants issued statements pledging to encourage ‘safe and healthful use of their products…’.


The Meaning of ‘Natural’, the FDA Wants Your Thoughts

The use of the term ‘natural’ as it applies to food has been the result of a great deal of controversy. Many ‘natural’ claims have been litigated over the years over the inclusion of foods containing genetically modified foods or manufacturing processes of foods (i.e. converting corn starch to sweetener).

There have been several petitions to the FDA asking for clarification of what can be claimed as ‘natural’ on a food label. Presently, FDA’s policy states that ‘natural’ means foods that are composed only of substances that are not manmade and that nothing artificial or synthetic has been included. Petitions vary widely. For instance, one petition requests a prohibition for using the term ‘natural’. Another asks for a determination on whether genetic engineered foods or foods containing HFCS can be considered natural.

The request for comments asks:

  • Should the FDA define the term ‘natural?
  • Should the FDA prohibit the use of the term ‘natural’?
  • What types of foods should be allowed to be called ‘natural’?
  • Do consumers confuse the term ‘natural’ with ‘organic’ or ‘healthy’?
  • Should the food manufacturing process be considered?
  • Are there public health benefits in defining the term ‘natural’ in foods?

Golden Growers does not believe the manufacturing process should be considered in the definition. We also think that prohibiting the use of genetically modified foods will result on only organic foods to achieve the label of natural.

If you would like to submit a comment, click on the following link and follow directions to post comments.

FDA Requests Comments on the Use of the Term ‘Natural’ in Food Labeling


GGC Board Votes to Issue $0.23 Distribution

On September 17th, Golden Growers Cooperative’s (GGC) Board of Directors approved a distribution of $0.23 per bushel delivered in 2014 or per member unit, effective for members of record on October 1, 2015.  This distribution has two components:

  • First, the distribution includes the retirement of the remaining $0.0836 per bushel  2014 equity credits.  This completes retirement of remaining 2014 equity credit; and
  • Second, the distribution includes $0.1464 per membership unit as a ‘partnership distribution.”

This brings GGC distributions since 2008 to over $80 million, or about $5.18 per average ownership unit.

GGC Board Approves Equity Credit Retirement of $0.22/bushel.

At their June 18th meeting, the Golden Growers Board of Directors approved a distribution of $3,408,900, or $0.22/bushel delivered in 2014, to members of record as of June 1, 2015.  Combined with the February distribution, 84% of  2014 allocated income has been retired.  The remaining equity credit balance is $1,295,004 or $0.0836/bushel delivered in 2014.

To date, Golden Growers has issued payments to members totaling $76,648,051.  This represents 142% of members’ original equity investment in the ProGold plant.


You Can Help Prove our Corn is Produced ‘Sustainably’

In his report at GGC’s recent annual meeting, former Chairman Jason Medhaug discussed the demands for sustainability measurements from within the food supply chain.  Measurements normally revolve around three issues: the Environment; the Community; and Economic Sustainability.

The trend for sustainable food production is gaining momentum as food and beverage companies jump on board to demonstrate to consumers that they are responsible corporate citizens.  Cargill, Coke, and Pepsi are among those companies who have made a sustainability commitment.

As a supplier to the food industry, Cargill is working to meet ‘sustainability’ measurement expectations of their customers with the assistance of farm operators who participate in a survey.  Several Golden Growers members are assisting Cargill by utilizing the Fieldprint Calculator for measurement purposes.

The Field to Market organization’s Fieldprint Calculator is emerging as a key tool to show producer sustainability.  The Fieldprint Calculator collects in-field data and provides comparison information on such metrics as water use, greenhouse gas emissions and soil erosion, among others.  Producers can compare their performance to local, regional and national averages.

Cargill can provide additional information on the Fieldprint Calculator and will assist GGC members with data entry.  Contact Bill Costello at or call 952-742-2315 for more information.


Legacy Planning for Your Farming Operation

Dan Peterson of e4 Brokerage, LLC met with the GGC Board of Directors at their June meeting to discuss Nationwide Financial’s ‘Land As Your Legacy’ planning program.  “In the next 20 years, 70% of farming operations will transfer form one generation to the next.  In order to preserve the farm for the next generation, planning is critical,” said Peterson.

Nationwide Mutual Insurance is one of the largest insurers of farming operations in the country and 10 of their 16 Board Members are farmers.   Their ‘transitional’ planning program was driven by an interest to preserve a family’s farming legacy.

Elements of a successful transitional plan include:

  • Succession planning;
  • Business planning;
  • Risk management;
  • Financial independence planning; and
  • Estate planning.

“This transition program takes a very deliberate approach,” said Peterson.  It starts with goal setting and data collection.  It proceeds  in a manner to ‘let the farm speak’ about what is necessary for a successful transition.  One of the most important elements is the family meeting exercise.  “All too often, a transition plan fails because interested family members never talk directly about how a transition will take place.”

Nationwide Mutual does not charge for the development of the plan.

If you would like to learn about successful transition planning visit this program link ‘Land as Your Legacy‘ and/or contact Dan Peterson at


Lori Buckhouse Joins Golden Growers

As of March 1st, Lori Buckhouse joined the staff of Golden Growers Cooperative.  Lori has extensive administrative and bookkeeping experience serving both public and private sector institutions.

Prior to joining the ND Barley Council and ND Grain Growers, Lori worked for NDSU’s Agricultural Systems and Biosystems Engineering Department.

Lori will continue to serve the ND Barley Council and ND Grain Growers organizations through an administrative service agreement.  We are very please to have Lori as a member of the Golden Growers family!


Golden Growers Relocates Cooperative Office

In order to add stability to the organization and further reduce costs, Golden Growers has relocated our cooperative office.

As of April 21st, Golden  Growers will be collocated with the North Dakota Barley Council and North Dakota Grain Growers Association at 1002 main Avenue West in West Fargo, ND.

All three organizations will share office space and administrative services.

Our main telephone number will remain the same, but our Fax line has changed and the toll free number has been discontinued.

Our new contact information is as follows:

Golden Growers Cooperative

112 Main Avenue West, Suite 5

West Fargo, ND 58078

Office: 701-281-0468

Fax: 701-239-7280

Please feel free to stop by our office when you are in the area.


At the conclusion of the Golden Growers Annual Meeting, the Board of Directors elected Mark Harless of Moorhead, MN to be Chairman.  Harless his wife Lenae, and their son Paul farm near Borup, MN raising corn, soybeans, and edible beans.

In addition to Harless, other officers selected include: Nicolas Pyle of Casselton, ND elected as First Vice-Chair, Shaun Beauclair of Stephen, MN elected as Second Vice-Chair, Matt Hasbargen of Fargo, ND elected as Secretary, and Les Nesvig of LaMoure, ND elected as Treasurer.

Golden Growers Members elected Scott Jetvig of Hawley, MN in the East Central District who to replace Paul Borgen of Dilworth, MN who chose not to run for re-election. Larry Vipond of Herman, MN was elected from the Southeast District to replace former Chairman Jason Medhaug of Veblen, SD who retired from the Board. Re-elected to the Board were: Gary Jirak of Breckenridge, MN in the Northwest District; Bruce Speich of Milnor, ND in the Southwest District; and Les Nesvig of Lamoure, ND in the Northwest District.

Golden Growers Cooperative has 1557 members located primarily in North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota. Together with American Crystal Sugar, they own the ProGold wet milling plant in Whapeton, ND operated by Cargill.

Golden Growers Annual Meeting – March 24, 2015

Make your plans now to attend the Golden Growers Cooperative Annual Meeting beginning at 9 am, Tuesday, March 24th at the Courtyard by Marriott in Moorhead, MN

This is a great time to visit with your fellow members, hear what has occurred in the prior year, and learn more about your Cooperative’s Business.

The agenda includes:

9:00 am Morning Short Courses:

  • Developing Rural Leaders (Marie Hvidston, NDSU Extension, Rural Leadership North Dakota)
  • Project Update: NPN’s Nitrogen Fertilizer Plant (Darin Anderson, President, Northern Plains Nitrogen); and
  • Corn Market Outlook (Pat Pithey, Cargill Corn Merchandizing)

10:00 am Annual Meeting: Election of Directors: Review of the Financial Statements; Reports by Chairman Jason Medhaug and Executive Vice President Scott Stofferahn.

11:00 am Guest Speaker: Retail Insights Thought Leader, Todd Hale

11:45 am Lunch