American Crystal 'makes life sweet for the Valley.'

American Crystal is a cooperative corporation owned by approximately 2,600 sugar beet growers in the Minnesota and North Dakota areas of the Red River Valley. Organized in 1973 by sugar beet growers to acquire the business and assets of the American Crystal Sugar Company, then a publicly held New Jersey corporation in operation since 1899, American Crystal now owns and operates five sugar beet processing factories in the Red River Valle, and it provides it’s shareholders (members) with the ability to process their sugar beets into sugar and agri-products such as molasses; sugar beet pulp; and by-products of the molasses desugarization process, betaine and concentrated separated by-product (CSB). American Crystal’s Board of Directors establishes sugar beet acreage planting requirements in the Red River Valley each year based on factory processing capacity, expected crop quality, government regulations and other factors, and American Crystal then processes the sugar beets from approximately 500,000 acres for the Red River Valley crop. The total authorized acres to be planted are then allocated to each preferred share held by the members.


American Crystal is engaged primarily in the production of sugar from sugar beets. Total sugar account for approximately 90 percent of American Crystal’s consolidated total revenues. United, American Crystal’s sugar marketing agent, sells sugar primarily to industrial users such as confectioners, breakfast cereal manufacturers and bakeries which make up approximately 90 percent (by weight) of the sugar sold. The remaining portion is marketed by United to wholesalers and retailers under the “Crystal Sugar” trademark and various private labels for household consumption.


American Crystal owns all of its factories and the land on which they are located in Crookston, East Grand Forks and Moorhead, Minnesota and Drayton and Hillsboro, North Dakota. Each of the processing factories includes the physical facilities and equipment necessary to store and process sugar beets into sugar. Their molasses desugarization plants at its East Grand Forks and Hillsboro facilities process molasses to extract additional sugar, and their Moorhead, Hillsboro, Crookston, and east Grand Forks facilities package sugar.


Agri-products such as molasses; sugar beet pulp; betaine and concentrated separated by-product, by-products of the molasses desugarization process and sugar beet seed are also produced by American Crystal, and are marketed throughout the Midwest. Sugar beet pulp is marketed to livestock  feed mixers and livestock feeders in the United States and foreign markets. A large proportion of American Crystal’s pulp production is exported to Japan and Europe. The market for sugar beet pulp is affected by the availability and quality of competitive feedstuffs and foreign exchange rates. Sugar beet molasses is marketed primarily to yeast manufacturers, livestock feed mixers and livestock feeders. Total agri-product sales account for approximately 10 percent of American Crystal’s consolidated revenues. American Crystal operates a sugar beet seed division, which produces and processes sugar beet seed for sale to American Crystal’s members. 


American Crystal’s total annual sugar and agri-product production is influenced by the amount and quality of sugar beets grown by its members and non-members, the processing capacity of American Crystal’s plants, by its ability to store harvested sugar beets and by government programs and regulations.


The period during which American Crystal’s plants are in operation to process sugar beets into sugar and agri-products is referred to as the “campaign.” During the campaign, American Crystal’s factories operate twenty-four house per day, seven days a week. In the Red River Valler, the campaign typically begins in August and continues until the supply of sugar beets has been depleted, which generally occurs in May of the following year. Based on current processing capacity, an average campaign lasts approximately 275 days, assuming normal crop yields.


American Crystal generally employs approximately 1,400 full-time employees, of which 1.100 are hourly and 300 are salaried. In addition, they employ 900 holy seasonal workers, 400 during the sugar beet harvest and 500 during the remainder of the sugar beet procession campaign. During the sugar beet, American Crystal also contacts with third party agencies for approximately another 1,300 additional workers. Human Resources personnel will be available to answer employment questions and provide information on current job openings on Cotober 29th at 10:15am at American Cystal Sugar. Please check in at the security building prior access to the factory. A short guided tour will be available for interested guests.