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Business Alliances

Several producer-owned and private companies, involved in renewable energy production and distribution, supported AURI’s bid for federal funding of the Center for Producer Owned Energy. They include:


Formerly known as Cenex Harvest States, CHS is a member-owned cooperative serving 600,000 producers through more than 3,000 local cooperatives operating in 24 states. Headquartered in Inver Grove Heights, Minn. CHS is a major distributor of both ethanol-blended fuels and biodiesel, with soybean processing facilities in Mankato.

Central Bi-Products

Part of the Farmers Union Marketing and Processing Association, Central Bi-Products is a cooperatively-owned business with more than 8,000 producer members in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. The co-op is a major renderer and processor of animal fats, tallow and waste greases that could be used in making biodiesel fuels.

Minnesota’s 11 ethanol cooperatives

Almost all of the state’s ethanol-industry growth over the past 15 years is attributed to farmer-owned processing cooperatives in southern and western Minnesota. Besides the current 11 co-ops, other groups are investigating adding production.

MN Soybean Processors

More than 2,000 soybean producers have invested in a new soybean crushing and refining facility in Brewster, Minn. Part of the southwest Minnesota cooperative’s business plan involves soy-oil refining for biodiesel.

MN Rural Electric Association

MREA serves 44 Minnesota electric distribution cooperatives and six generation and transmission cooperatives that are locally owned and operated by boards of directors elected by consumer-members. The association provides safety training, legislative research and industry education programs.

Lyon/Lincoln Electric Cooperative

This co-op serves southwest Minnesota and has expressed interest in renewable energy.

Schwan Food Company

The food company is heavily reliant on energy to keep manufacturing facilities running and owns the world’s largest private commercial fleet of vehicles.