Five Directors will be Elected/Re-Elected at March 24th Annual Meeting

At our Annual Meeting, Members have the opportunity to re-elect and elect Directors to serve on the GGC Board of Directors. Current directors up for re-election for 3-year terms are: Brett Johnson, Mooreton, ND (C District) and Matthew Hasbargen, Breckenridge, MN (At-Large Director).

Directors David Benedict (N District); Byron Koehl (At-Large Director); and Nicolas Pyle (C District) will reach their term limit. We offer our sincere appreciation to David, Byron and Nick for their wisdom and dedication to our cooperative. Due to Bylaw changes approved in 2019, their director positions will be filled as follows: 2-Year Term, North District; 1-Year Term, Central District; and 1-Year Term, At-Large Director.

If you are interested in serving on the Board and want to be listed on the ballot for your District, you must file a petition with signatures of at least 10 members from your District no later than March 1st so ballots can be timely printed and mailed. Candidates may be nominated from the floor, but their names will not appear on the ballot. For more information, visit or contact Scott Stofferahn, 701-281-0468 or

GGC Board Allocates Income, Approves $0.14/bushel Distribution

On February 3, 2022, after review of the 2021 end of year financial and income statements, the Board of Directors allocated income of $7,090,978 to the members of Golden Growers Cooperative. The Board also approved the retirement of a portion of allocated equity credit in an amount of $0.14 per patronized bushel for a total of $2,168,667.

Anticipate a Bylaw Amendment Proposal in January

Over the past two years, Golden Growers Cooperative held virtual Annual Meetings in order to protect our members from the possibility of COVID-19 infection. Obviously, this is not our preferred way to interact with our membership on an annual basis.

Accordingly, we modified our meeting procedures to allow full participation for every member while still adhering to our bylaw requirements. For instance, all members received ballots in the mail to vote for Directors along with return envelopes, and, based on advice of counsel, ballots received were counted toward our quorum. The good news is that we had more votes cast in each of the last two elections than in any of prior ten elections.

We recognize, however, that bylaw requirements to allow a ‘nomination from the floor’ would be nearly impossible to effectively or fairly administer. For instance, a roll call vote would not be confidential and we would need to verify that a mailed ballot had not been received from members voting. Further, the floor nominated candidate would be disadvantaged by all of the mailed votes cast prior to the annual meeting.

Recognizing these problems, the Board is reviewing bylaw amendments that are likely to be proposed to the membership by mail in January. Amendments would include:

  • Nominations for Director are limited to petitons filed within three weeks of the annual meeting
  • Ballots will be mailed with the Annual Meeting notice
  • Ballots are officially counted toward the quorum
  • Any member may vote by mail in Director elections
  • Sections related to the transition period to reduce directors from 15 to 9 will be removed

While we do anticipate an ‘in-person’ annual meeting for 2022, assuming COVID-19 is under control, and members are protected, this bylaw proposal will assure that we are prepared for anything that might come our way.

Avoid the $75/Year Administrative Fee, Enroll in Direct Deposit

Starting in 2022, a $75 Printed Check Administrative Fee for Members NOT Enrolled in Direct Deposit.

Direct Deposit was first utilized in October of 2017 with 250 members participating (16%). Over the past four years, we have had steady growth in participation with 1,343 members enrolled (89.6%) for the October payment. Participants have been pleased with the timely, seamless, and secure process for receipt of distributions. They also receive a mailed letter explaining the payment for their records.  Due to the success of Direct Deposit and the reduced administrative costs associated with it, the Board determined that all members will need to participate by January 1 of 2023.

Golden Growers will be mailing an enrollment letter to non-participating members in December explaining the change in policy and encouraging participation prior to January Method A payment and the February distribution. You can enroll earlier by completing the reverse side of your distribution payment letter.

2022 Pool Election, Agency Fees & Incentive Payments

2022 Incentive Payments and Agency Fees
Incentive Payments and Agency Fees for Method A and Method B Pool participation will remain the same for 2022. That means 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.

2022 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.

In early October, members received their Annual Delivery Election letter with the ADA form on the back page. Members intending to change their delivery method, must 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 2021, 27% of bushels were delivered by members directly to the plant.

GGC Board Approves $0.13/Unit Distribution

On September 16th, the Golden Growers Board of Directors approved a distribution of $2,013,762 to members of record as of October 1, 2021. This distribution retires a portion of 2019 allocated income. In combination with the February and June distributions, a total of $6,041,286 has been issued to members in 2021.

Over the past few years, the GGC Board built a reserve in preparation for capital expenditures at the plant. In anticipation of capital expenses for the pre-dryer repair and the first phase of the distributive control system (DCS), ProGold has reduced distributions to Golden Growers. Golden Growers is able to continue distributions because the GGC Board built a reserve during the course of this lease.

This distribution authorized by the Board will result in a remaining equity credit balance for 2019 of $117,283 and a 2020 equity credit balance of 3,634,526 totaling $0.24/bushel. (Note: This balance does not constitute an outstanding obligation for GGC.)

GGC Board Approves Distribution of $0.13/Unit

On June 17th, the Golden Growers Board of Directors approved a $0.13/Unit distribution of $2,013,762 to members of record as of June 1, 2021.

This distribution will retire a portion of remaining 2019 allocated income. With this distribution, the remaining equity credit balance is $5,765,571 or $0.37/bushel. This balance is useful in determining per Unit basis levels and does not constitute an outstanding obligation for GGC.

It has been the GGC Board’s goal to level out distributions through the current ProGold lease. They estimated capital expenses, the timing of payment for capital projects, and declining lease payments. As we get closer to the end of the lease and capital expenses become clear, the Board will likely make adjustments to assure that payments to members do not exceed reserves and revenues at the end of the current lease.

Golden Growers has issued payments to members totaling $119,959,432 or 222.3% of the original investment in the ProGold plant.

MDU Announces Natural Gas Line to Wahpeton

Montana Dakota Utilities (MDU) announced plans to increase the supply of natural gas to the Wahpeton Community. This comes after several years of advocacy for a solution by Wahpeton city leaders, legislators, and industrial partners.

Presently, Wahpeton-Breckenridge is supplied by Great Plains Natural Gas (GPNG) through a 6-inch, high pressure natural gas pipeline that originates in Vergas, MN as an 8-inch pipe. (GPNG is a subsidiary of MDU.) From Fergus Falls, it is reduced to a 6-inch pipe that serves the Fergus Falls Green Plains ethanol plant and the Wahpeton-Breckenridge area. During high demand circumstances, industrial users are often forced to reduce or shut down operations. This lack of natural gas capacity has resulted in missed opportunities for industrial expansion in the area.

MDU will split service at the state line with Breckenridge being served by the existing pipeline. A new 12 inch pipeline will be constructed from Mapleton, ND to Wahpeton and serve residential and industrial users on North Dakota side of the river. In addition, a new rate structure will offer firm gas to industrial users at an increased cost that appears to be reasonably priced. These users, including the ProGold Plant, have agreed to a ten-year contract at the proposed rate. The contract, however, will not result in an extended obligation if, for some reason, operations would cease.

MDU anticipates the new supply pipeline could begin operations in the fall of 2024.

The Golden Growers Board of Directors would like to thank the City of Wahpeton, community leaders, and MDU for their continued efforts. In particular, we would like to thank Mayor Steve Dale and State Representative Alisa Mitskog for their tireless advocacy for a solution. We also extend our appreciation for the work of former MDU employee and Wahpeton’s natural gas consultant, David Yexley, whose assistance was key. Unfortunately, Mr. Yexley passed away in March.

This new natural gas line is a  very positive step for the long-term viability of the ProGold plant and allows for future expansion at the site.

Pre-Dryer Repair Approved

In April, the ProGold Board approved the repair of the pre-dryer at the ProGold plant. This repair is considered a major capital expense where the cost is the financial responsibility of ProGold. Previously, repairs to the finish dryer were completed at an approximate cost of $1.6 million.

The pre-dryer, which is constructed much the same as the finish dryer, is having similar structural failures that are getting progressively worse. To accomplish the repair, a conveyor must be built so that the previously repaired the finish dryer will function as the pre-dryer. This bypass conveyer allows continued plant operations during the repair. It also adds redundancy for dryer functions should a major failure occur at some time in the future.

American Coalition for Ethanol Executive VP Brian Jennings Provides Ethanol Status Repor

Brian Jennings discussed ethanol production, demand, and policy issues in his guest presentation.

In 2020, we lost 700 million bushels of corn use for ethanol due to the pandemic. Domestic use dropped from over 14 Billion gallons in 2019 to just over 12 Billion gallons in 2020. “We are seeing a recovery in 2021, but don’t anticipate getting back to the pre-COVID levels in 2021 or even 2022.” After the bottom fell out of the domestic fuel market in March of 2020, there was a quick rebound by July to a level around 15 to 20% below normal. “Domestic demand has continued run at about a 15-20% reduction when compared to prior years,” said Jennings.

A change in administrations will have an impact on the ethanol industry. The Trump EPA can be summed up in two policy issues, one good and one bad. Under Trump’s EPA, E15 was approved for sale year-round across the U.S. Unfortunately, the same EPA granted nearly 90 small refinery waivers of the renewable fuels standard and eroded about 4 billion gallons of demand from statutory levels.

Biden campaigned aggressively against those waivers and has indicated that they will reverse course. The Biden EPA is focused on net-zero emissions by 2050. The question is, ‘What role will Ag and ethanol play?’ “We intend to go on offense. There is an opportunity to increase ethanol demand because corn ethanol GHG emissions are 50% cleaner than gasoline.” Jennings cautioned that they have work to do to convince some Biden officials of the value of corn ethanol.

Jennings addressed recent auto manufacturer announcements on electric vehicles (EVs). “In terms of supply, 97% of vehicles are internal combustion. Even the most aggressive projections on future sale of EVs will mean ethanol will play a significant role in reducing GHG well into the century.”