Aldrich C. Bloomquist
The sugar beet cooperative that saved the sugar beet industry in Minnesota’s Red River Valley is in part the work of Aldrich C. Bloomquist. His contributions to sugar beet farming began in 1955 when he became regional manager for the Western Beet Sugar Producers. When he was named executive secretary of the Red River Valley Sugar Beet Growers Association in 1961, the industry was thriving. By 1972, however, the American Crystal Sugar Company was reducing sugar beet acres in northwestern Minnesota and pulling away from its four regional processing factories. American Crystal Sugar would eventually have left the area had it not been for Bloomquist’s proposal to have the Valley growers purchase the company, which thereafter was run as a cooperative.
Within three years sales had doubled, as had the number of acres planted. A fifth processing factory was built and one of the four original facilities was remodeled to increase its capacity. Today, American Crystal Sugar is a strong economic force in the valley, accounting for 11,000 jobs and an annual economic contribution of about $1 billion.
Among Bloomquist’s many awards is the Dyer Memorial Award presented to the “Sugar Man of the Year” for significant and meritorious service — it is the highest honor the sugar industry bestows. He has long been the company’s primary liaison with Washington, D.C., where he is considered a valued resource for information about the U.S. sugar industry.