CVEC celebrates 20 years of operations at Benson, MN

By Susanne Retka Schill | June 13, 2016

Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co. celebrated its 20th year of operations June 10 with over 500 cooperative members and guests attending a noon meal followed by a short program and tours of the plant just outside of Benson, Minnesota.

The event featured comments from Chippewa Valley Agrafuels Cooperative board Chairman, David Thompson, CVEC general manager Chad Friese, industry leaders and local officials.

“We’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time. To be producing ethanol for 20 years is an amazing accomplishment and we wanted to celebrate that milestone with our supporters and local investors. The majority of our 950 cooperative owners live within 50 miles of the plant so we wanted to do something to recognize their loyalty and encouragement over the years,” Thompson said.

“We’ve been able to innovate and diversify our plant to its current production capacity of 50 million gallons per year. That innovation has led to good returns for our member owners over the years. They know how special this anniversary is to the company and we look forward to continuing that development and production well into the future,” Friese said.

American Coalition for Ethanol executive vice president Brian Jennings presented a plaque to Thompson, commending the CVEC staff and directors in his remarks.

Renewable Fuels Association CEO and president Bob Dinneen also attended. “CVEC has always been a leader, within the industry and the RFA,” he said “It was one of the first farmer-owned cooperatives to commit to ethanol production well before the ethanol market was fully established. CVEC’s board shared a vision of value-added agriculture and local economic growth that became a model for others to follow.” He added that CVEC general manager Bill Lee chaired the RFA in 2004 and 2005, participating in the work to get the first renewable fuel standard passed through Congress in 2005.