David Kragnes (Minnesota Beet Grower)
David Kragnes sits on the Board of Directors for a major American company. But David is different from your average corporate board member. David is a fourth-generation sugarbeet farmer from the small town of Felton, Minnesota.
David and his wife, Peggy, were among the first farmers in the region to join what would become America's largest sugar cooperative--American Crystal Sugar Company. Buying into the cooperative was a huge financial commitment, and as David puts it, he literally "bet the farm it would succeed."
Today, nearly all sugarbeet growers own the companies that process the beets they grow. In fact, farmer-owned companies account for 100 percent of America 's sugarbeet processing capacity.
The success of these companies not only affects the lives of farming families, these companies literally support entire communities.
The community where David and Peggy reside is in the Red River Valley. Home to more than 4,000 beet farmers, three farmer-owned sugar cooperatives, and seven sugar processing factories that employ thousands more, nearly everyone in the region is touched by sugar production. All told, sugar pumps more than $3 billion into the local economy and is the region's second largest employer next to health care.
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