Wineinger “Plant utilization a key factor” in corn refining margins

U.S. Sugars Corporation President Matt Wineinger provided an excellent overview of dynamics affecting the sweetener industry during his presentation at the Golden Growers annual meeting.

In terms of domestic sweetener use, total sweetener consumption remains on the rise, but ‘per capita’ consumption of caloric sweeteners is declining.  Meanwhile, non-caloric sweeteners use is on the rise.   Not all non-caloric sweeteners are benefiting, however.  Diet sodas have seen significant consumption declines driven by concerns over Aspartame.  Recent non-caloric growth has come from stevia and sucralose.

Consumers have adjusted their declining consumption of carbonated soft drinks  primarily by increasing tap water use.

GMO ingredients have become a battleground within the food industry, according to Wineinger  Congress has not yet approved any national labeling legislation. Meanwhile, companies like Campbell, General Mills, and Mars are moving forward with their own labeling method.  Wineinger considered this an encouraging move.  “I believe consumers will simply accept disclosures of genetic food labeling as part of the fabric of food labels, leading to greater acceptance.” stated Wineinger.

When it comes to HFCS pricing, there are several factors to consider.  Domestic sugar prices, freight distribution, ethanol prices, Mexican sugar shipments (to the U.S.), and Mexican sugar supply all have an impact.  While corn prices also figure in, corn milling plant utilization is a key factor when it comes to maintaining margins for corn refiners.  Wineinger highlighted Cargill’s closure of their Memphis plant as a key decision to significantly raise capacity utilization and positively impact profit margins.

GGC Board Members Re-Elected

Golden Growers members re-elected the following board member re-elected at their annual meeting on March 24, 2016

  • Nick Pyle of Casselton, ND (NW District)
  • Matt Hasbargen of Breckenridge, MN (NE District)
  • Brett Johnson of Mooreton, ND (SW District)
  • Byron Koehl of Hancock, MN (SE District)
  • David Benedict of Sabin, MN (EC District)

Congratulations to each of these fine board members!


Governor Dalrymple to Attend Golden Growers Annual Meeting

Governor Dalrymple will attend the Golden Growers Cooperative Annual Meeting, Thursday, March 24th at the West Fargo, ND Cambria Conference Center starting at 9:00 am.

Golden Growers has been informed that North Dakota Governor Dalrymple has accepted the invitation to speak at Thursday’s annual meeting.

Governor Dalrymple was on the Organizational Board of Directors for the Cooperative during its formative years from 1994-1995 when the ProGold corn milling plant was conceived.  Dalrymple played a significant role on the Organizational Board due to his relationships with local and state officials.  This was most important during the site selection process which eventually named Wahpeton, ND the favored location for the $260 million plant.

In addition to Governor Dalrymple’s address, United Sugars Corporation President Matt Wineinger will share his thoughts on the current state of the food sweetener business.  Wineinger has a unique perspective due to his prior responsibilities as the President of Bulk Ingredients for Tate and Lyle, PLC and his current role for United Sugars Corporation in the marketing of both beet and cane sugar.

The Golden Growers Cooperative annual meeting begins at 9:00 am with short courses on farm transition planning, sustainability, and corn marketing.  The business meeting begins at 10:00 am.  Governor Dalrymple is anticipated to speak shortly after 10:00 am.  Matt Wineinger’s presentation will occur at approximately 10:45 am.

Annual Meeting Set for March 24, 2016

The Golden Growers Annual Meeting is set for Thursday, March 24th at the Cambria Conference Center, 825 East Beaton Drive, West Fargo, ND. Please note that this is not the same location as in prior years. The Cambria is located on the north side of Interstate 94 where it intersects with Veterans Boulevard.

The agenda includes:

8:00 a.m.  Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m.  Morning Short Courses:

  • “Legacy Planning for Your Farming Operation – What’s your Transition Plan?” Dan Peterson, e4 Brokerage, LLC
  • “Measuring Sustainability–Why it Matters to Producers” Marty Muenzmaier, Cargill Sustainability Director, and
  • “Corn Market Outlook – Expectations for the 2016 Crop Year” Pat Pithey, Cargill Corn Merchandizing

10:00 a.m.  Annual Meeting: Election of Directors:

  • Review of the Financial Statements; Elections; Reports by Chairman Mark Harless and Executive Vice President Scott Stofferahn

11:00 a.m.  Guest Speaker: Matt Wineinger, United Sugars Corporation President

11:45 a.m.  Lunch followed by Your Questions

Five Directors to Be Elected at Annual Meeting

At our Annual Meeting, Members have the opportunity to re-elect or elect Directors to serve on the Golden Growers Board.  Current directors eligible for re-election are:  Nick Pyle of Casselton, ND in the Northwest District; Matt Hasbargen of Breckenridge, MN in the Northeast District; Brett Johnson of Mooreton, ND in the Southwest District; Byron Koehl of Hancock, MN in the Southeast District; and David Benedict in the East Central District.

Any member in good standing is eligible to be nominated for the Board in the district where their membership is registered.  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 five days in advance of the annual meeting.  Candidates may be nominated from the floor, but their names will not appear on the ballot.  If you want more information about district elections, visit the Golden Growers Elections Webpage or contact:

Scott Stofferahn: 701-281-0468 or


Matt Wineinger to Speak at GGC Annual Meeting

Golden Growers is pleased to announce the speaker at our upcoming annual meeting, United Sugars Corporation President, Matt Wineinger.

Matt was named President of United Sugars in May of 2015.  Prior to United Sugars, Mr. Wineinger served as President of Bulk Ingredients for Tate & Lyle PLC where he had global responsibility for commodity sweeteners, starches, ethanol and more.

Golden Growers is fortunate to have access to someone who thoroughly understands the dynamics of sweeteners in the food and beverage business.

He received his graduate degrees from Kansas State University and the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

K-1 Tax Form Information

The Golden Growers Schedule K-1 tax forms have been mailed.  If you do not receive your K-1 within the week, feel free to contact our office.

For members who are not wintering at their address of record and need their K-1 immediately, please call or email with the following:

Member Name; Winter Address: Email Address; Mobile Phone Number; and/or similar information for Tax Advisor.

Send this information to:

2016 Annual Delivery Agreement (Pool Election) Deadline is December 15th

In October, Golden Growers members received their ‘Annual Pool Election’ letter offering the opportunity to change their method of delivery necessary to meet membership obligations under the Uniform Member Agreement. Only members intending to change their delivery method need to respond.

The Board of Directors believes it is in the Cooperative’s interest to have a large portion of member obligations satisfied through direct member deliveries. Method A pool participation strengthens our relationship with Cargill, ProGold’s tenant, and it assures continued proportional allocation of income to all members of the cooperative. Therefore, we encourage each member to seriously consider the $0.07/bushel Method A advantage when making your annual election.

To change your delivery method, simply complete the Annual Delivery Agreement (ADA) printed on the back page your October 15th letter and return it to the Golden Growers office. Changes in delivery must be received by GGC no later than December 15th.

Note: If you have misplaced your Annual Election Letter and intend to change delivery methods, contact the Golden Growers Office for a replacement letter.


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