CVEC celebrating 20 years helping farmers, area

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CVEC’s board of directors

It started as the dream of a farmer and rural electric co-op manager. One wanted to see a better corn price for the region’s farmers while the other was looking to stabilize his company’s electric sales. Both were looking to improve the economic strength of the area.

John Carruth was a crop and dairy farmer living south of Danvers while the late Ray Millett was the general manager of Agralite Cooperative. With Millett and Carruth leading the effort, a group of area farmers formed a board in 1995 to begin exploring construction of an ethanol plant near Benson. Their dream was realized a year later when in 1996 the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company (CVEC) began producing ethanol.

While the initial intent was for the plant to be owned by farmers, the board soon realized that it would need a broader investment base if their dream were to become a reality. So, they opened investment in the plant to businesses and individuals in the area. Swift County and the City of Benson also invested in the plant.

Today, CVEC is recognized as one of the best run, most innovative ethanol companies in the country. It has 50 employees and a $3.2 million payroll. Over the past 20 years it has paid out more than $160 million in dividends to its members, paid $3.39 million in property taxes and invested $96 million in capital projects. As often as it can, it uses local contractors to do the work it needs done.

It has also raised the price of corn for farmers in the area by 5 to 10 cents a bushel.

Pictured, CVEC’s board of directors: First row: Dan Benson, Chairman Dave Thompson, Secretary Jan Lundebrek, and Vice Chairman Dave Tolifson. Back row: Chuck DeGrote, Gene Fynboh, Dave Nagler, Treasurer Kent Evenson, and Roger Longhenry.

 

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