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Dave Olson, Published January 15 2012

A brief history of American Crystal Sugar Co.

1890 – Henry Oxnard and others open a beet sugar factory in Grand Island, Neb. The next year, Oxnard builds factories in Norfolk, Neb., and Chino, Calif.

1899 – Oxnard opens a factory in Ventura County, Calif. Later that same year the four plants are combined into American Beet Sugar Co.

1923 – Minnesota Sugar Co. announces plans for a beet sugar factory in East Grand Forks, N.D.

1924 – American Beet buys Minnesota Sugar Co. and its plants in Chaska, Minn., and Mason City, Iowa.

1929 – American Beet takes over Amalgamated Sugar, which has factories in Utah, Idaho and Montana.

1934 – American Beet changes its name to American Crystal Sugar Co. That same year, growers begin to organize what will become the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association.

1948 – American Crystal opens Moorhead plant.

1954 – Company opens plant in Crookston, Minn., its third in the Red River Valley.

1965 – American Crystal’s Drayton, N.D., plant opens.

1972 – In April, 1,500 sugarbeet growers vote to decide whether the association should attempt to buy American Crystal. Seventy percent say yes.

1973 – Crystal Grower’s Corp. formed as an entity to merge with American Crystal, OKs $86 million purchase.

1973 – American Crystal growers purchase American Crystal Sugar Co. and form a cooperative, uniting the company and the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association.

1974 – New headquarters opens in Moorhead.

1975 – After a merger with the Red River Valley Cooperative, American Crystal opens its Hillsboro, N.D., factory.

1981* – Union workers go on strike. Strike lasts 28 days.

1982 – American Crystal sells Clarksburg, Calif., plant. Remaining factories are all in the Red River Valley.

1993 – American Crystal, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative and Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative form United Sugars Corp. to cooperatively market their sugar.

2002 – American Crystal purchases plants in Montana, Wyoming and Texas.

Source: American Crystal Sugar Co. website

*Forum archives