Cargill in new corn wet milling venture

Cargill in new corn wet milling venture

WAHPETON, ND. — Cargill and Golden Growers Cooperative have reached an agreement on a joint venture in ProGold LLC, owner of a corn wet milling facility in Wahpeton, ND, and 510 acres of land on which the facility sits, the companies announced Feb. 24.

ProGold LLC was formed in 1994 as a joint venture between Golden Growers, American Crystal Sugar Co. and Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative, which sold its stake to American Crystal in 2003. Cargill, which has leased and operated the wet milling facility since 1997, and Golden Growers will each retain 50% ownership in ProGold upon buying out American Crystal Sugar Co.’s 51% equity stake. The transaction is expected to close by the end of February. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“This strategic partnership combines the strengths of both parties, paving the way for long-term reliability and viability of corn-based ingredients to supply our customers,” said Mike Wagner, managing director for Cargill’s starches, sweeteners and texturizers business in North America. “We’re proud of our team members who have been instrumental in the success of this operation and our longstanding partnership with ProGold and the local corn growers for the past 25 years. We look forward to exploring new growth opportunities for the facility, including attracting co-location partners to the site.”

The 240,825-square-foot corn wet mill, which Cargill will continue to operate, has about 185 employees and contractors combined. Cargill contracts with about 1,500 local corn growers, enabling the facility to grind approximately 90,000 bus of corn daily to produce animal feed and food ingredients that are used in baked foods, beverages, dairy products and confectionery goods. Cargill currently owns and operates five other corn wet mills across the US Midwest: Blair, Neb.; Cedar Rapids, Eddyville and Fort Dodge, Iowa; and Dayton, Ohio.

Golden Growers was formed in 1994 to create a value-added processing opportunity for corn growers in the Dakotas and Minnesota and currently has about 1,540 members.

“We believe this agreement with Cargill offers a bright future for our members,” said Mark Harless, chairman, Golden Growers. “Our agreement signals a long-term commitment to the Wahpeton community, employees of the facility and corn producers.”