The American Crystal Sugar Company is a cooperative of sugar beet farmers. Currently, its members are at a total of 2,800 farmers and its products are distributed throughout the country and internationally for its industrial customers.
Crystal Sugar’s history started when investors, headed by Henry Oxnard, put up a factory for beet sugar in Nebraska in 1890. A year after, Oxnard added additional factories in Nebraska and California.
In 1899, all of Oxnard’s sugar processing plants were combined under the name American Beet Sugar Company. In 1924, American Beet acquired Minnesota Sugar Company, along with its sugar processing facilities in the area of Mason City, Iowa and Chaska, Minnesota.
In 1929, American Beet took over the Amalgamated Sugar Company and assumed operation of its facilities located in Utah, Montana and Idaho. Five years later, American Beet changed its name to become American Crystal Sugar. In 1948, American Crystal’s new processing facility in the area of Moorhead, Minnesota was completed.
In 1959, American Crystal closed its processing facility in Oxnard. Six years later, its processing facility in Missoula was also closed. In 1971, the company closed another of its facilities, this time the facility at Chaska.
In 1973, Growers for American Crystal purchased the American Crystal Sugar Company. After this acquisition was completed the new owners then merged Crystal Sugar with the Association of Sugarbeet Growers of Red River Valley. In 1974, Crystal Sugar relocated to a new headquarters in Moorhead, Minnesota.
In 1979, Crystal Sugar started to implement forced ventilation into piles of sugar beets for a more effective cooling system. In 1982, the company sold its processing facility in Clarksburg. Over the next few years, Crystal Sugar underwent several changes in its leadership until Wayne Langen was elected as Chairman in 1997. In 2001, the board elected a new Chairman in the person of Robert Vivatson.
In 2002, Crystal Sugar purchased several sugarbeet processing plants in different areas of Texas. A year later, the company celebrated 30 years of business.
Currently, Crystal Sugar produces sugar, beet pulp and molasses. Its products are exported to be sold to industrial consumers, as well as to wholesale and retail customers. The company also produces sugar for distribution as private label goods.
• Headquarters: Moorhead, Minnesota
• Ownership Type: Private, Cooperative
• No. of Employees: 1,361 (2010)
• Geography: USA
• Demography: industrial sugar users, retail and wholesale sugar consumers, private label companies