Our history

End of an Era

In March, members of Southern Minnesota Beet Growers Association were informed that the market for their sugarbeets would close as of that season, that the processing facility in Chaska, Minnesota would cease operations.

SMBSC is founded

The Growers Association had formed a cooperative, a suitable site had been selected, and a considerable amount of preliminary groundwork had been laid in pursuit of their goal – a sugar factory to serve the needs of approximately 300 growers involved.


The newly-formed cooperative was ready for a gala ground-breaking event on March 28 for a $60 million sugar processing facility. In May, construction began with completion expected in time for the first harvest in the fall of 1974.

First Crop

Approximately 50,000 acres of sugarbeets were planted in the spring of 1975.

Inaugural Slice Campaign

In July of 1975, a three-day factory dedication celebration was held. On October 14, 1975, the inaugural slicing of 768,000 tons of sugarbeets began. American Crystal Sugar had been retained on an interim basis to manage the operation for the cooperative.


New grower contracts were signed, permanent financing arrangement was reached, a new management team was hired, and Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative took over the operation of their factory, achieving the goal set in 1971.

Addition of Molasses Facility

Construction of the molasses desugarization facility began in the summer of 1989, an $18 million addition further processes the sugar normally lost in molasses. Construction was complete in the fall of 1990. The factory provided for desugarization of molasses from the 1990 crop.

SMBSC Factory Expansion

Further expansion began to increase slicing capacity and grower basis. The first expansion phase to the factory began in the summer of 1992 and was complete for the harvest of that crop.

SMBSC Increases Shareholder Base

Completion of the second expansion phase in the summer of 1993. The sale of stock to 106 new shareholders along with a stock dividend to current shareholder increased the grower base to 465 shareholders and 100,000 shares.

Formation of United Sugars, Inc.

Minn-Dak, American Crystal Sugar Company and SMBSC formed a new sugar marketing cooperative, United Sugars, Inc.

Improved Sugar Drying

Capital plan that included improved sugar cooling/drying, improved crystallization, a step to automation, and an improved management information system was implemented.

Vision 2002

Creation of “Vision 2002,” a five-year capital plan for Engineering the Future was completed. The most extensive factory improvement since the factory was built.

SMBSC Joins Cargill

Cargill begins to market and sell SMBSC sugar.

SMBSC Acquires Holly Sugar Corporation

SMBSC acquires the Holly Sugar Corporation from Imperial Sugar which included the last two sugar factories in California, which were in the cities of Brawley and Mendota and the Holly Sugar assets which included the Holly Seed Company in Sheridan, Wyoming. SMBSC changed the Holly Sugar Corporation name to Spreckels Sugar Company, Inc.

Closing of Spreckels's Sugar Company, Inc. Mendota Facility

SMBSC discontinued operations at the Spreckels Sugar Company, Inc. Mendota facility; thereby, closing the factory.

SMBSC Increases Sugar Storage Capacity

Construction of five new sugar silos greatly increasing sugar storage capacity onsite.

SMBSC Joins National Sugar Marketing

SMBSC begins to market and sell sugar through National Sugar Marketing (NSM).

Holly Seed

After 106 years of operation in Sheridan, Wyoming, SMBSC closes Holly Seed, LLC.