Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative

Published in the May 2012 Issue Published online: May 13, 2012 David Roche & Mike Metzger
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David RocheMinn-Dak Farmers Cooperative was officially formed August 30, 1972. Factory groundbreaking was on February 3, 1973 and construction began on February 26, 1973. The first board of directors was elected on March 25, 1973. The first beets were planted on April 19, 1974 and the first campaign was underway on October 1, 1974.

The board of directors are: Douglas Etten, Chairman; Brent Davison, Vice Chairman; Charles Steiner, Secretary; Dennis Butenhoff, Treasurer; Dale Blume; Pat Freese; Dennis Klosterman; Kevin Kutzer; Russ Mauch.

The executives are: David H. Roche, President and CEO; Richard J. Kasper, Vice President and CFO; John Haugen, VP Engineering; Tom Knudsen, VP Agriculture; Greg Schmalz, VP Human Resources; Parker Thilmony, VP Operations.

David Roche, President and CEO

Roche states that regarding future projections in the company, such as what is going to change, or be updated: "Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative recently completed a successful processing campaign. Although the crop size was disappointing, less than a 17 ton yield, the quality was good, and although the winter was mild, sugarbeet storage conditions were near ideal.

"Major capital improvements during 2012 will include a new pulp press, white centrifugal upgrades, replacement of tankage in the factory as well as wrap up expenditures on a thin juice softening system and new coal car unloading loop track. In total new capital investment will total more than $6.0 million."

Mike Metzger, Research Agronomist, says regarding biotechnology: "To date, our company has always embraced the field of biotechnology and are looking forward of more to come. Adaptation of such has been well received by our growers (99 percent acceptance of RR varieties after only 1 year) and the benefits of the technology can clearly been seen by all who utilize it."

"Issues with sugarbeet disease is probably the single biggest challenge our growers face from year to year. Solutions found on-farm (variety selection, tillage methodologies, etc.) only go so far and our growers turn to the crop protection industry, USDA and land-grant universities for solutions, both immediate and long-term."